Carl Sandburg graduate doesn’t let COVID-19 stop him from walking at graduation

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GALESBURG, Ill. (WHBF) — One graduate from Carl Sandburg College wasn’t going to let the Coronavirus Pandemic stop him from walking at graduation. Michael Martinez was born with Spina Bifida which is a condition that has kept him from walking so he has been wheel chair bound most of his life.

“When you’re born there’s like a hole in your spine so your spine isn’t able to correctly form. So because of that I’ve been wheelchair bound for most of my life.”

Martinez graduated from Carl Sandburg College in the spring and he had one goal in mind.

“That once graduation came around I was gonna walk for graduation and walk to get my diploma and then the Coronavirus hit and so I decided at the last minute you know, I’m gonna do this anyway.”

In order to walk, Martinez had done a little physical therapy before the pandemic with a lot of work on his own leading up to the big day. Despite not having a normal graduation, Martinez was still determined to walk so he made a video of him receiving a diploma from his fiance.

“It was really surreal to be able to get up and do that walk and do it with someone that I care about so much. I immediately started crying as soon as I sat down.”

The video was posted on Twitter and has 23,000 views. Martinez is a big sports fan and wants to be a sports psychologist. In fact he even helped coach the the men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as the women’s volleyball team at Carl Sandburg College.

“I was able to hold a lot of the conference trophies and I was given conference medals. I took pictures with the teams. I was actually able to go on road games for when we won conference.”

Martinez is now off to Knox College to study Psychology in the fall.

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