VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)- A proud day for a first-time voter, now registered to cast his ballot in November. The political battles he’ll help decide have nothing on the personal and medical struggles he’s working to overcome.

Paperwork is seldom something to celebrate, but 19-year-old Horace McFarlane Jr. filled a voter registration out with pride.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, since I was a 9-year-old,” McFarlane told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.

Barack Obama becoming president inspired Horace’s interest in politics before illness and injury came to dominate his life. First, leukemia. Then, a devastating brain injury.

“Up here that caused me to lose half the skull of my brain,” McFarlane said.

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At school inside Blythedale Children’s Hospital, social studies teacher Rob Troy learned Horace was determined to register and vote.

“I’ve been with Horace for two years and the one word that comes to mind is resilience, and he shows that day in and day out whether it be in the classroom, out at therapy. He is an extremely resilient young man,” said Troy.

Speech therapist Shannon O’Brien has been helping Horace with the skills to review and discuss the candidates, including those running for Congress.

“He’s very dedicated and very good at taking the strategies we learn in school and really practicing them on his own,” said O’Brien.

The voter registration deadline in New York is Oct. 9.

“I’m excited to say, I’m really happy to vote, and I’m ready,” McFarlane said.

Horace is registered, are you? If not, knowing what he’s been through, what’s your excuse?

Horace told CBS2 he’ll be watching Tuesday night’s debate and can’t wait to cast his ballot on Nov. 3.

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