DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — This graduation season, hundreds of students across the Miami Valley are walking across the stage to accept their diplomas.
Dillon Rosenlieb has cerebral palsy, so the physical act of walking is a challenge, but with months of practice, and a little help from his friends, he made a pretty big dream come true.
“Growing up, I’ve always had the thought of walking,” Dillon said.
At a year old, he and his brother Darian were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Growing up, he used a gait trainer to help him walk, and as he got older, he started using a wheelchair to get around.
“Walking kind of took the backseat once I got to high school, because I needed to focus on my academics and stuff like that,” he said.
During his junior year at the Greene County Career Center, Dillon made the decision to walk for graduation.
He had two main goals. The first was to do it with his peers. That’s where Tori, Cameron and Mihkala came in. The group started practicing for the big moment back in January.
“Oh, I was beyond nervous,” Dillon said. “We were the last people to go for graduation…so I was kind of sweating bullets in the back with Tori.”
Then, his name was called, and the walk was a success.
Dillon’s second goal was to surprise his siblings and his parents. It was important moment all on its own, and there was another layer of emotion underneath.
Dillon said he and his beloved friend, Reece White, came up with this idea together. Reece was supposed to be by his side that day. However, he died suddenly last November.
Every step of this walk was just as much for Reece as it was for himself.
“It was a heck of a lot for one moment,” Dillon said. “It was a whole entire rollercoaster of emotions on that stage, but…we did good.”
Dillon said he will be heading to Ball State University in a couple of months where he plans to study journalism.
You can read more about Dillon’s journey here.