Tags: chris norton | walk | graduation | paralyzed | wheelchair

Chris Norton, Wheelchair-Bound After Football Accident, Walks at Graduation

By    |   Wednesday, 27 May 2015 02:16 PM

Chris Norton had a 3-percent chance of moving below the neck after a spinal cord injury left him wheelchair-bound in 2010, but on Sunday he walked across the stage at graduation and received his college diploma.

Doctors didn’t think Norton, 23, of Altoona, Iowa, would ever walk again after he was involved in a football accident at Luther College, according to USA Today.

Though he finished school in the winter, Norton took part in the Memorial Day weekend ceremony on Luther's Decorah campus and, with a little help from fiancée Emily Summers, rose from his wheelchair and made his way across the stage.

It was a goal Norton set for himself a year ago, when he was only able to take a couple steps with the help of a walker.

“It was like my game day,” he told USA Today, referring to the graduation walk. “I was in the zone, focusing on what I needed to do and not worrying about anyone or anything else.”

Luther finished classes last winter and moved with Summers to Michigan where he has been attending rehab.

The moment he collected his diploma brought everyone in attendance to their feet, USA Today noted.

“I didn't think it'd be so emotional,” Norton said. “The energy in the room was really unbelievable, and it meant everything to have (Emily) there with me. It was the best weekend of my life. She's the most incredible person I've ever met, and to share it with her, the woman I'm in love with, it couldn't be any better.”

The couple will now return to Michigan so Norton can continue his rehabilitation.

A few years ago, Norton helped found the SCI CAN Foundation, which works to raise funds to purchase equipment and support for those who suffering from neurological injuries, including spinal cord damage. USA Today reported that the foundation has raised and awarded nearly $375,000.

Norton has made nearly 50 speeches and is expected to release a memoir this summer called "The Power of Faith," which he wrote with his father and author Christy Hayes.

“So many people, including myself, fear failure, it's human. But if you do everything in your power to accomplish your dreams, at the end of the day, you can be proud and happy with how far you've come,” Norton told NBC News. “Good things will come your way.”



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Chris Norton had a 3-percent chance of moving below the neck after a spinal cord injury left him wheelchair-bound in 2010, but on Sunday he walked across the stage at graduation and received his college diploma.
chris norton, walk, graduation, paralyzed, wheelchair
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2015-16-27
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 02:16 PM
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