The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


October 29, 2013

No Limits: Creekside student defies expectations

EAST LIMESTONE — Devin’s parents were told he would never walk.

Andre and Viryonka Howell’s child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and classified as a spastic quadriplegic, meaning his muscles were drawn so tight he would never have proper usage of either of his arms or legs.

But baby Devin began to roll over. Then he started to sit up and crawl.

Now, 11 years later, Devin is making his way in the world on foot.

“It’s still unreal,” said Viryonka Howell. “I still don’t actually believe it yet.”

She said six months ago, Devin started getting out of his wheelchair to work with a walker. September 26 was his last day being pushed wherever he wanted to go.

“He hasn’t gone back to it since then,” Howell said. “Just pretty much anything the doctors said he wasn’t going to do, he’s doing. It took all I could to keep from crying to take the pictures of him getting off the school bus.”

Howell said Devin has a huge support group throughout Limestone County, especially from his family at Creekside Elementary School, so when she snapped a picture of Devin hugging his dad Andre after getting off the bus the first day he took his walker to school, it didn’t take long for the congratulations to come pouring in.

“It went everywhere in a matter of hours,” she said. “It was just amazing. I’ve got a good group of people looking out for us.”

Now, instead of watching his cousins run in the yard, he can chase them.

“He likes to be outside more,” Howell said. “His walker allows him to do that. His walker has allowed him to go pretty much anywhere.”

Walking is the latest milestone in a life that has been marked by progress and unyielding support for the Creekside fourth-grader.

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