Local family celebrating new beginnings
Graduation is a time for family to come together and celebrate the graduate, but for one family, there’s another reason to celebrate. Ryan Stevenson is making his first public appearance since being struck by a drunk driver last July, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Stevenson’s brother Paul Dunford is graduating from Parkside High School, and says “it’s good to see him out you know he’s been trapped up there for almost a year now so it’s awesome to have him here that’s one of the things that sucked, knowing he might not be here so it’s awesome.”
Stevenson reflects on the past 11 months “it’s been a trying year, definitely. Definitely a year I didn’t want to go through, but I’m glad I have the family I have to make it easier” Stevenson says emotionally to 47ABC. And on this big night, the celebration extends beyond just Paul and Ryan, as they credit their family for helping them through it all. The brothers say the whole family has worked hard to get to this point, and their grandfather says it’s how they will continue to move forward.
Graduations are emotional times, but Ryan Stevenson’s family has learned a lot since that July night that he nearly died, and although a different scenario is preferable, they’re glad they had each other through it all. Dunford says “family’s the most important thing you can have – when everyone else isn’t there for you they’re there no matter what” his brother Ryan echoes that sentiment, holding back tears while telling 47ABC ” don’t give up on your family – that’s what I learned”.