Like most students, Corey Borner has been dreaming of the day he would finally get to walk across the stage to get his diploma. But for Corey, it’s a moment his doctors weren’t sure he’d ever have.
In high school, Corey was a very active kid. He was on the football team and loved giving it his all… until something happened at practice one day that changed his life forever.
“I was telling the coach, ‘One more play, one more play,’ and as soon as that one play occurred I had my head down just a little too low, and I couldn’t move nothing from my neck all the way down to my feet,” Corey said.
He later learned that he had severely injured his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed. Despite his circumstances, Corey worked hard to search for the positives in life and was determined to walk again one day.
Earlier this year, 12 years since his accident, he made a huge step toward that goal… literally! With the help of a robotic exoskeleton suit, he was able to set a personal record.
“They didn’t let me know how many steps I was talking,” he said. “So they asked, ‘Corey, do you want to know?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, sure,’ and they said, ‘Well, you passed 700.'”
After 826 steps, Corey stopped, overwhelmed by the moment. That one victory was only the beginning of many more, starting with his graduation.
“He can do anything… anything that he wants to do, that he can do, he’s gonna try and do,” his mom said.
At 28 years old, Corey has been working hard for the past three years to earn his communications technology degree from the University of North Texas at Dallas. He couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to surprise his friends and family by walking across the stage!
“I always dreamed of this moment to be able to walk across and surprise people,” Corey said. “It was just so amazing.”
As he continues to work toward other goals — like walking 1,000 steps — Corey hopes his story will inspire others who are feeling defeated by their circumstances.
“That’s one thing about life: It’s gonna be hard,” he said. “It’s how you get through life. That smile and that positive attitude will lead you the right way.”
Watch Corey walk across the stage in the video below, and share this story to congratulate him on the huge milestones.
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