Walking across the stage at graduation is something most college students take for granted, but for one University of Southern Florida student with a progressive neuromuscular disease, walking across the stage to accept his diploma was something he always dreamed of.
At 15 years old, Sam Bridgman was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), a progressive disease that has left him unable to walk on his own. However, the now 25-year-old has never let the condition stop him from accomplishing anything he sets his mind to. “No one likes to find out that they have a progressive neuromuscular disease that could cause many symptoms and could make it so life is not very enjoyable,” said Bridgman. “But I try to make the best of things and enjoy life to the best way I can.”
“I’ve always wanted to work in sports,” Bridgman said. “I think like any kid growing up, I wanted to be a professional athlete. And when I got diagnosed with FA at the age of 15, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to be a professional athlete. So I thought the next best thing would be to have a career in sports.”
After years of hard work, Bridgman earned his MBA and a master’s degree in sports and entertainment management, and when it came time to accept those degrees, he was determined to do it on his own two feet. When Bridgman’s name was called on his graduation day, his two trainers helped him up and stood alongside him as he walked across the stage.
“I actually noticed a standing ovation,” Bridgman said. “It was pretty cool. It definitely brought it full circle right there.”
Watch the entire video below to see the incredible moment this young man walked across the graduation stage.
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[Featured image: Youtube/USFchannel]