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Teen with Muscular Dystrophy Realizes Dream of Walking to Receive Diploma

The Short of It

An Arkansas teen with muscular dystrophy realizes his dream of walking across the stage and receiving his high school diploma at graduation.

The Lowdown

Nineteen-year-old Doug Haynes endured a surgery last November to treat his muscular dystrophy, which he was diagnosed with at age 12, and was left unable to walk.

Despite this unimaginable setback, his mom Robin Doherty told Good Morning America, " Doug is a very determined guy. He faces things head on and just attacks it."

It was this unwavering spirit that allowed him to realize his dream of getting out of his wheelchair and walking across the stage at his high school graduation to receive his diploma.

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The moment Doug is helped out of his chair by his physical therapist and takes his first steps while his entire graduating class looks on is extremely emotional. The brave teen's peers rise to their feet to give him a standing ovation as his name is called. Doherty says the moment came as a surprise to almost everyone in attendance at the graduation ceremony.

"If he got scared or nervous, we didn't want people expecting it. When they stood him up, I thought, ' Okay, he's really going to do this,'" she said.

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Only his mom, physical therapist, and family knew about his plans to walk. Doug's feat is even more impressive given he had to undergo hours of physical and occupational therapy every day since his surgery, all while keeping up with his schoolwork so he could graduate on time.

The Upshot

According to Doherty, her son was very moved by everyone's support during his big moment. "He said, 'Mom, when they stood up, I almost lost it.'"

The town of Bearden, Ark., has been with Doug every step of the way since his diagnosis of muscular dystrophy, so this moment was very moving for them as well. Family friend, Cheryl Tucker Carlin, said, " His town has rallied around him and provided so much support and become a big family for him."

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Congratulations to Doug on his two major accomplishments: graduating and proving he can do anything he puts his mind to.

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