BLACKSTONE (CBS) – If you read Bradley Gignac’s graduation cap, you’ll see a quote from Alice in Wonderland: “Every adventure requires a first step.”
Gignac took that first step, when the paralyzed graduate shocked his Blackstone-Millville classmates by walking to receive his diploma.
Gignac was left paralyzed with a traumatic brain injury after a boating accident when he was just a kid in 2003. He was riding a jet ski with his dad, Kevin, a local firefighter, when they were struck by an oncoming boat. Bradley’s father died instantly.
When you ask Bradley who he wanted to walk for, he slowly answers, “my dad.” Despite not being able to walk since he was a toddler, Bradley knew he needed to achieve this goal.
“We never thought we’d be at this moment because they actually didn’t think he’d pull through,” his grandmother, Celeste, explained. “So this is really a miracle. And you just don’t give up hope.”
Bradley Gignac’s name was called early on in the graduation ceremony. He rolled his electric wheelchair up a ramp onto the makeshift sidewalk stage, and with the help of the school community, stood up and slowly walked to get his diploma.
The crowd roared to its feet, and chanted “Bradley! Bradley!” as he walked. It felt “good,” the 19-year-old told WBZ.
Gignac will stay in a special school program until he turns 22, and after that — his future is up to him.