For many who struggle with hardships of one sort or another, the one thing they want more than anything in the world is to move far away from the life in which they feel trapped. For those who deal with cerebral palsy (and who have, for example, undergone numerous surgeries and been required to endure countless hundreds of hours of physical therapy), this “thing they want to get away from” is often that world of hospitals, surgeries, and the ensuing physical therapy that can so thoroughly tire one’s body and mind. For Brianna Ryan, however – a recent graduate of Mount Dora Bible – this is not the life she is trying to flee from…instead – even with the cerebral palsy she has dealt with since the age of two and the multiple surgeries she has endured (including having both of her femurs broken and rotated at the age of 15 at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, with muscles then being transferred to her legs and plates and pins being inserted into her legs) – this is exactly the life she wants to live. This is exactly the world in which she wants to immerse herself. Brianna has not had to undergo physical therapy since last summer (following another major surgery last January) – and yet, when asked where she sees herself in ten years, she stated that she can see herself married with one or two children, and would hopefully be starting her own business in the world of physical therapy.
Of course, while some may see this as surprising (a young woman running toward the area of her life that so many others in her position might instead try to get far away from), those who feel this way do not know Brianna. After all, she hardly sees her cerebral palsy and the resulting hardships as a trial, or as a struggle; instead, she has come to view the positives in her situation, and has shown an inner strength that has caused many around her to call her an inspiration.
Recently, Brianna’s positive outlook and hard work were rewarded in the most astounding manner possible, as she was presented the President’s Award for Educational Achievement, signed by President Barack Obama himself, in recognition of Brianna’s indomitable spirit and unwillingness to allow cerebral palsy to stand in her way. The President’s Award for Educational Achievement – an award designed to recognize students nationally who show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment or intellectual development in their academic subjects in the face of obstacles – came as a complete surprise to Brianna, but it was a moment she will never forget.
Not long after receiving the President’s Award for Educational Achievement, Brianna walked across the stage at her graduation – without the help of a wheelchair or a walker – to receive her diploma. In and of itself, this was a massive accomplishment – but for Brianna, it was simply one more step along her path of helping others around her every opportunity she has!