Community leaders lend helping hand to paralyzed teen
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Community leaders showed up Friday at the home of a paraplegic South Florida teen who was a victim of gun violence to lend him a helping hand.
"It's just like a flock of angels has come down and settled in my house," said Sammie Willis, the father of 15-year-old Aaron Willis.
Life is a little different than it used to be for Aaron, who was shot in the back Dec. 19 while he was riding his bike on Northwest 28th Street and First Avenue in Miami's Wynwood district. The bullet severed the teen's spine and left him paralyzed from the waist down. The incident sent Aaron to Jackson Memorial Hospital for five weeks.
Three months later, Aaron is looking on the bright side of things. "All I can think about it is, I can sit down now," he said "I've got people to push me around."
The community is pitching in to make Aaron as comfortable as possible in his home. "We kindly donated a brand-new kitchen, and put in a couple of fans, a little air conditioner in Aaron's room, and we're going to be adding a couple of other things," said Karen Fryd, director of the South Florida Youth Foundation.
Gifts like a scooter and a handicapped-accessible ramp in his home are just some of the improvements that will make life a little easier for Aaron. Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho donated a computer to the Booker T. Washington High School freshman. "Partners have provided wireless internet access to him so he can continue his studies," Carvalho said.
According to the teen's father, these donations are an enormous help for the challenges up ahead for Aaron and the Willis family. "My son has a head and he has a heart, and that's going to take him to almost the same places as his legs would have taken him," Sammie Willis said.
The bullet that hit 15-year-old Aaron Willis Dec. 19 while he was riding his bike in Miami's Wynwood district severed his spine. The incident sent the Booker T. Washington freshman to Jackson Memorial Hospital for five weeks.
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