Back on his feet: Worcester man walking again after being paralyzed by stray bullet

A Worcester man left paralyzed by a random gunshot more than a decade ago is back on his feet after years of hard work.

Laniya Johnson took some of his first steps in 12 years at the Journey Forward Paralysis Rehabilitation Center in Canton Saturday, part of an annual celebration that showcases the progress of the nonprofit’s clients.

Johnson, then 13, was sitting in his living room in 2007 when a stray bullet struck him in the back, paralyzing him from the waist down. Doctors told him it was unlikely he’d ever walk again.

But he started going to the center in hopes of building up his strength and someday walking again, and on Saturday he made it around a course measuring a tenth of a mile.

“It was a little difficult but yeah, I pulled through and got to the end,” Johnson said, saying the support from spectators was empowering. “It’s pretty great, I think this is the most that we’ve ever had.”

“To see him with a smile on his face and such determination,” said Carol Tye Rose, chairman of the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation. “I don’t think he’d ever walk again, but he never stopped trying.”

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