TUALATIN, Ore. -- A snowboarding accident left him paralyzed and now a community refuses to let him fall. A Tualatin teen is getting huge support just in time for his release from the hospital.
Gabe Karapondo, 17, is the only kid with a beard at the Legacy Emanuel Pediatric Unit. Instead of prom, it's been four hours of therapy a day.
It's a slow, tedious process. But this teen is determined to to beat the odds.
"My arms have gotten a lot stronger. It might not seem like a huge change but just being able to scratch my face is a huge relief," Gabe said.
It is big, considering he couldn't move his arms just three months ago, when a snowboarding accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.
"It was just a freak accident," his mom Kathy said. "I just told him, 'Hang on Gabe, I'm getting there as soon as I can. Everything is going to be ok,'" she said.
The support hasn't stopped since. He couldn't make it to prom, so his friends brought it to his hospital bed.
"That was definitely a surprise, and a new record for how many people could fit in my room," Gabe said.
Then more than 200 people showed up Thursday night for a fundraiser, in a effort to pay to make his home wheelchair accessible. The family hit the garage Friday, cleaning up the spot where they need to put in an $18,000 lift so Gabe can at least get around the first floor.
"He's been dying to coming home," Kathy said.
And he will in just two weeks. He said no matter how long it takes, he dreams of walking again.
"Being positive is about the only thing I can do right now. It'll take a while to get there but I'll get there," Gabe said.
The family is accepting donations at any U.S. Bank for the Gabriel Karapondo Medical Fund.