Updated: Friday, 25 Jun 2010, 11:13 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 25 Jun 2010, 10:17 PM EDT
AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - If you were looking for an example of courage and perseverance, you needed to look on the stage at UB Friday night. That's where a graduating Sweet Home senior brought the crowd to its feet with every step he took.
This was a moment of triumph for the former Sweet home High School football star known as "DayDay."
Deshanaro said, "Everybody actually wanted to see me walk. I always told them, "You'll see it at graduation. You'll see it at graduation.""
Deshanaro Morris had been the star running back for the Sweet Home Panthers, who won the state championship that year. But his football days were over after a car accident damaged his spinal cord. Once he overcame his anger about his injury, he began setting goals for himself, including walking across the stage.
"For right now this is the big one. Second big one's when I'm out of this wheelchair. Hopefully it will be soon," stated Deshanaro.
He was asked to speak to his fellow classmates at graduation, and to pass along the lessons he has already learned in life: have faith, and believe in yourself.
Deshanaro opined, "Don't let others tell you what you can or cannot do, because at the end of the day you are your own person, and you have to be responsible for your own destiny."
He brought graduates and parents and teachers to their feet with his words and philosophy. It was "DayDay" who told his mother to have courage after his injury.
Deshanaro's mother, Andrea, said, "He told me to keep my head up and that God blessed him, and he's still here for a reason."
By the time he threw his hat into the air with so many others, his classmates also let him know they got the message.
Fellow grad Josh Perez said, "He proved that anything's possible, and don't give up on life, and always look at the brighter side of life."
"DayDay" Morris plans on studying physical education in college. And as he said he has goals. One day he hopes to return to Sweet Home High School and become the head coach of the football team.