PORTLAND -- A Portland man confined to a wheelchair since a cheerleading accident is trying to raise enough money for a treatment he thinks could change his life.
Kenneth Connin, now 22, was a competitive cheerleader at North Salem High School before the accident happened.
“I struggled in high school and it was cheerleading that really helped me find who I was,” he remembered.
After high school, a failed landing attempt during a try-out left him paralyzed below the shoulders.
“I was doing a tumbling pass and I just didn’t complete a rotation and went into the floor like a screw driver. The damage was instant,” he said.
Four years later, family and friends are cheering Kenneth on as he tries to raise $5,000.
“I want to get treatment through Project Walk. You are out of your wheelchair much of the time using different machines and there’s electric shock therapy and swimming pools,” he explained.
Through a website, he manages by typing with his nose. Kenneth is sharing his story as he tries to raise the funds needed to go to California for Project Walk.
“Walking is kind of a stretch but getting movement in my arms is definitely not” Kenneth said.
He hopes to one day leave Portland and head for New York City and is currently a student at the Art Institute.
“The only way I can achieve things is to be positive,” Kenneth remarked. “I’ve already done things the doctors said would never happen and now I’m ready to see what else I can achieve.”