Teen with cerebral palsy achieves graduation goal of walking for the first time without help

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— High school graduation is an achievement that requires hard work and determination from an individual. But for one recent Sandia High School grad, his graduation was about more than just grades.

Joe Martinez was born with a movement disorder called cerebral palsy, but it hasn’t stopped him from doing anything he puts his mind to. The most recent goal he set for himself was the biggest one yet: walking.

Martinez hoped to walk across the graduation stage, but the pandemic got in the way. Still, Martinez had another trick up his sleeve. At his graduation party over the weekend, Martinez walked without help for the first time.

He’s been working with his therapist once a week to surprise his family—and it worked.

“I cried. I was proud. I was shocked. It was, it’s just another feeling on top of the world, cloud nine feeling,” said Martinez’s mother.

Now, Martinez has a message for people who experienced a tough time this past year: You can accomplish anything. You just have to go one step at a time.

“You see how I am, and I can do whatever I put my mind to,” he said. "Just enjoy yourself in life in general."