By Tony Lopez


DAVIS (CBS13) — Among the UC Davis graduates who will be walking the stage this weekend, one talented music student is determined to stand extra tall.

Michael O’Hearn, at age 62, will not only be receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, but he will also be doing something he hasn’t done in years.

He will be getting up from his wheelchair and walking across the stage.

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O’Hearn has used a wheelchair for the past 16 years after he was diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease. He’s been working with physical therapists, so he’s able to walk across the stage on Graduation Day.

Physical therapist Buster Porter has been working with O’Hearn.

“He’s worked really hard with his academic mission but also his physical accomplishments. I got to say I couldn’t be more proud of working so hard to accomplish both of those goals,” Porter said.

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In a twist of irony, he used his diagnosis to fall back in love with his passion: playing the trumpet.

“I had something bad happen–and because of that bad–something became good,” O’Hearn said.

Now that good story will continue for years to come as Michael O’Hearn takes a giant step toward the next chapter in his life.

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