North Carolina graduate defies odds after being diagnosed with brain disorder

DURHAM, N.C. -- A young man in Durham, North Carolina defied the odds by walking across the stage at his high school graduation.

Amari Williams was diagnosed with a brain disorder at just 2 years old and his family was told he would never walk or talk again.

Tamara Williams was moved to tears as she watched her first-born Amari walk across the graduation stage on Monday.

After a healthy 2 years of life, Williams said her son started showing signs of seizures and acting out, then wasn't able to walk or eat correctly.

Doctors diagnosed him with encephalitis.

"All we knew to do was pray, hope and pray. So we were at Duke for about six weeks, you know, running the tests and everything," Williams said. "After we went to Duke, the doctors wanted us to go to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville. So we went there for about four or five weeks, Amari received rehab."

She took time off of school to care for him and she said her prayers worked and led them to where they were this week.

"So many thoughts about how he wasn't walking when he couldn't walk, when he couldn't talk, when he couldn't eat or anything," she said. "And now he was this healthy, strong, young, African-American male graduating from high school. That was a huge accomplishment."

Amari said he has very little memory of his time in the hospital but knows walking across the stage was a miracle.

"I have made that my biggest goal because I was my mom's firstborn," Amari said. "And the way she talks about me and how she will like she tells me the goods and the bads. And like what to do so I could stay on the right path."

Amari said his favorite part of walking the stage was seeing his family in the crowd. He plans to go into carpentry or construction.

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