Today, we present what is likely to be remembered as one of the most inspirational stories of the year. Yet, C-I Feature Writer Salley McInerney’s magazine-quality story on KP Cassidy and his remarkable recovery from a paralyzing accident cannot be affixed to just today’s date as a published article.
It stretches back to May 31, 2018, when KP -- after a failed attempt to toss some keys to a friend from his family’s boat on Lake Wateree -- dove into too-shallow water to retrieve them and broke his C6 veterbra.
McInerney’s story traces KP’s path from that horrifying day to exactly one year and one day later when he walked across the graduation stage at Camden High School to give the alumni speech and officilly receive his 2018 high school diploma from Principal Dan Matthews.
Perseverance. Attitude. Maturity. Wise beyond his years. These are all words we could not help coming up with about KP when we read McInerney’s story.
They come through in the first moment after the accident: “I was thinking about how I’ve been in the water all my life and I just needed to stay calm.”
Later: “I didn’t have my hands and I didn’t have my legs, but I felt like I would eventually be capable of doing anything.”
Later still: “I mean, you almost have to relearn everything. It was kind of like a job, but instead of getting paid money, I got movement.”
KP’s ultimate goal was to enter college “on time” and be able to walk into class.
He became a freshman at Wofford College on Jan. 2 and was able to walk into class unaided except, occasionally, for a cane or wheelchair (which he uses depending on the terrain).
Perseverance and attitude are also words we can use to describe KP’s family. Kyle, Elizabeth, Matthew and Caroline Cassidy have gone through fear, doubt and frustration to help KP reach that goal of going to college and walking into class and come out better on the other side
To the graduating class of 2019, KP said, “Attitude is everything,” and “You have to embrace the challenge.”
KP Cassidy and his family have done that and more. No family should go through what they’ve gone through. But, when they do, they can look to the Cassidy family -- as we all can -- for inspiration.