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Paralyzed dad will walk at graduation and teach son life lesson

RICHMOND, Va. — Six years after he was paralyzed in a crash on Interstate 64, Adam Shelton’s positive attitude and determination has led him to a silver lining in his personal tragedy.

In 2011, Shelton was a healthy, loving father who worked on a loading dock in Chester in order to provide for his son.

But in July of that year, the Thomas Dale grad’s life changed forever. While he drove back home from Virginia Beach, he car hydroplaned on the wet interstate and flipped eight times.

Adam was thrown from the car. Part of the vehicle then landed on his back.

The crash left Adam with three broken vertebrae, a leg broken in four places, six broken ribs, a fractured sternum, and a collapsed lung.

“I’m lucky to be alive,” Adam said. “At the time, I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

Multiple doctors told Adam he would likely never walk again, he said.

As Adam attempted to recover from his physical injuries, periods of hopeless and depression followed.

The athletic father, who said he could run a six-minute mile and enjoyed his physical career on the loading dock, said he started to feel sorry for himself.

That’s when Adam decided a change was needed. He wanted to show his son that with enough determination anyone could overcome anything.

And he did.

“Everything thing I did, I did for my son,” Adam said. “He needs me, and I know I had to do everything I could to make sure I could be there for him in every possible way.”

Adam Shelton

After two surgeries and four months in the hospital, Adam began rehab. Within a year, was able to take his first few steps with the use of a cane.

Two years after that, Adam was able to walk unaided.

Unable to return to the loading dock where he worked, Adam decided to pursue a college degree at ECPI University.

On Saturday, June 10, Adam will walk across the stage and receive a bachelor’s degree in cyber and network security; a second dream of his.

“Saturday is going to be an overwhelming experience, earning a college degree, but more importantly walking across the stage when the doctor’s said I would never walk again!” Shelton said.

Overall, Adam is thankful the tragedy led him to pursue a college degree. He said he planned to get his foot in the door with a computer job and hopefully someday start his own company.