Student rises from wheelchair and walks to claim two master’s degrees

A student did the unthinkable when graduating from the University of South Florida this weekend. He rose from his wheelchair and walked across the stage to accept two master’s degrees.

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Sam Bridgman, 25, graduated from the Muma College of Business Sports & Entertainment on Saturday evening. He has relied on a wheelchair to get around since he was 18, WFLA reports.

Bridgman has Friedreich’s ataxia, which affects the nervous system and heart. The disease causes a loss of coordination in the toes and fingertips and will shorten his life.

Video shows Bridgman getting help from two friends to rise from his chair and walk across the stage. The crowd bursts into applause and cheers as Bridgman crosses the stage.

In the video, Bridgman is seen walking to the stage with the help of two friends.

Bridgman says after graduation, he plans to continue to raise awareness about ataxia and raise money for the Fredreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance.

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