Worcester man left paralyzed by gun violence taking first steps

WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - A Worcester man left paralyzed by gun violence is making progress step by step.

Lanyia Johnson was hit by a stray bullet while at his aunt’s house in the Back Bay in 2007 when he was just 13-years-old.

Doctor’s told Jonson he was never going to walk again — but he is beating the odds.

“You know the good things don’t come easy,” Johnson said. “You gotta work for everything you do.”

The shooting left Johnson paralyzed from the waist down.

“They said that I wouldn’t really have technically any feeling or any movement in my legs, they said I couldn’t walk again, I would have to learn to live in my chair for the rest of my life and you know, it kinda hurt,” Johnson said.

For the past 10 years, Johnson has been working out at Journey Forward, a fitness center that aims to help people overcome paralysis.

It is starting to pay off as Johnson took his first steps six months ago,

“I like to say I kinda flipped it back a little bit and kinda got myself back and picked myself back up,” Johnson said.

Founder of Journey Forward, Dan Cummings, says he is proud of Johnson.

“Every workout he gives everything he’s got,” Cummings said. “He’s not giving up and that hard work has been rewarded.”

Johnson says he still has a long way to go to get where he wants to be but believes with a positive attitude and with each step forward, he will walk on his own one day.

“It’s a great achievement, it’s a great accomplishment,” Johnson said. “It’s obviously not the way I want it to be right now because I’ve still gotta work and still do things and stuff like that, but it’s an incredible feeling, it’s great.”

Johnson will show off those strides on Saturday at Journey Forward’s 10th annual walk.

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