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Berks stroke victim celebrates hs graduation

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 23 2014 07:34:03 AM CDT

Derrick Redcay celebrates graduation

PHILADELPHIA -

A therapy room was the backdrop for a Berks County teenager's graduation party Sunday afternoon.

The Muhlenberg Township teen became a quadriplegic two months ago, after suffering a rare spinal stroke.

Derrick Redcay, 18, was a volunteer firefighter and baseball player.

He lived a normal, happy life.

Up until April, there was no indication that there was anything medically wrong with the teen.

The stroke came in the final stretch of his senior year at Muhlenberg High School.

Eight weeks ago, Derrick's parents never thought he'd graduate, let alone celebrate.

"Something we really thought was impossible eight weeks ago, is happening," said Deb Redcay, Derrick's mom.

With help from the staff at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, Redcay received his diploma earlier this month.

That same staff made sure he celebrated like every other teen.

"He can enjoy the same things as everyone else who is graduating with him. He's able to do that here with his family and close friends," said Deb Redcay.

Family, friends, and firefighters spent the afternoon at the hospital to congratulate Derrick.

"I wanted to show Derrick he has a lot of people behind him and supporting him," said Alexis Knarr, Derrick's girlfriend.

Derrick told 69 News he's grateful for all the community support.

Derrick has accomplished another major milestone recently.

He's now able to move both of his arms.

The Redcays are confident he'll return home to Muhlenberg Township in about five weeks.