BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Running a marathon is an ambitious goal for anyone. But for one Long Island teen, it seemed impossible to even walk just two years ago.
That’s because he was badly injured when he was hit by a car while walking to school. But as CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday, he has made a remarkable recovery.READ MORE: Judge Lifts Temporary Pause On Vaccine Mandate For NYC Teachers And Other City Workers, Who Now Must Be Vaccinated By Monday
Lots of folks train for marathons, but Donovan Maldonado stands out from the pack. For him, every step is learned.
Rewind just two and a half years ago, when walking seemed out of the question. His life was in doubt.
Donny’s family chronicled his journey after he was hit by a car en route to middle school, leaving him with a profound brain injury.
“We got horrible news that he wasn’t going to make it because he had so much internal bleeding,” mother Laura Garces Maldonado said.
Donny came out of a coma, but, “He wasn’t able to speak. He wasn’t able to walk. He was partially blind as well,” father Matthew Maldonado said.
Eating, dressing, talking … all of it had to be relearned.
“It’s a lot of work to get out the house,” Donny said.READ MORE: 'I Want A Proper Education': Some NYC Public School Students With Medical Exemptions From In-Person Instruction Feel They're Falling Behind
Grueling work, that has paid off.
These days, Donny is making different kinds of strides. He has committed to taking part in the Suffolk County Marathon.
Call it a walk of determination.
“He has kind of become symbolic of that hope that exists in the community,” Brentwood Middle School principal Matt Gengler said. “Hope is alive in Brentwood. Donny is our proof, against the most unbelievable odds.”
A community battered by gang violence rallied in support of Donny, proving when all hands are on deck anything is possible.
“He is the true definition of ‘Brentwood Strong,'” Monica Martinez said. “No matter what hits us, we keep standing up and fighting even harder.”
“The sky’s the limit. It’s amazing everything that he has overcome, everything as a family that we have overcome. To see him at this point, I’m so proud of him,” Matthew Maldonado said.
“For everyone who told me I wouldn’t be anywhere, let’s see where they are now,” Donny added.
Donny doesn’t know how far he’ll get in the marathon on Oct. 28 — maybe he’ll run just the half-marathon or maybe the 5K — but he won’t stop trying and his community is focused on how far he has come.MORE NEWS: Mattress Giveaway In Queens Highlights Depth Of Need That Remains 3 Weeks After Ida
Donny in 11th grade at Brentwood High School, and has made up for the time lost due to the accident through summer school. If you would like to contribute to his cause, please click here.