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Student hopes to leave wheelchair and walk at graduation

Darby Cochran was born with cerebral palsy but is hoping to leave her wheelchair behind and walk across the stage to receive her diploma at Pike County High School’s graduation ceremony this Friday. She has been visiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for therapy since she was 4 years old and she started the Adeli Suit Therapy Programs in Robotics in August 2016. She hopes a special exoskeleton robotic machine will help her to walk at graduation. ’She’s so excited because she really wanted to walk across the stage at graduation,’ said her mother Robin Cochran. ‘She had an opportunity to participate in CHOA’s exoskeleton program and it has taught her how to walk and to keep her body properly aligned. The students and administrators have really rallied around Darby and her classmates treat her like she’s no different. This school has been such a blessing for Darby.’ Darby was on the Homecoming Court and was crowned Homecoming Queen by her classmates. Even though she’s physically limited, Darby isn’t mentally limited. She has always made As and Bs and speaks very well and has a great vocabulary. She loves baseball – especially Pike County’s Hunter Strickland and the San Francisco Giants – and she knows an amazing amount of statistics from her favorite players and the game in general. She played baseball with Peachtree City’s Field of Dreams team. Her dream is to travel to San Francisco and watch Hunter Strickland play. ’She’s just a joy to everybody. She has such a good energy all the time,’ said Robin who noted that her doctors are working hard to make her dream of walking across the stage come true. ‘Dr. Joshua Vova and Dr. Annalise Cawley have really worked hard with Darby and have been great!’ Darby is still debating what she wants to do as a career and she will be visiting Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute and Cave Springs outside of Rome to decide where she goes after high school. Whatever she does, she will miss her friends at PCHS after graduation. ’Jake Maddox has been one of Darby’s best friends. He is an amazing young man and she thinks the world of him and so many other students in her class,’ said Robin. ‘We appreciate Pike County and the school so much and especially the Class of 2018. They have wrapped their arms around Darby and made her one of their own.’

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