A young boy named Parker Strong, who was 12 years old, woke up on a regular Friday morning, full of energy and ready for the school day ahead. After getting ready for school, Parker eagerly hopped into his mother’s car and they set off for school. Parker, being a helpful big brother, also assisted in securing his baby brother in his car seat. He was excited about attending school, seeing his friends, and engaging in his classes.
However, this day turned out to be far from ordinary, as a life-altering event unfolded. Around 20 minutes into their drive, an extremely severe car crash occurred, requiring Emergency Medical Services to come to their aid. In an emotional interview with the family, Parker’s mother, Sharonda Strong, described how the accident was unexpected, as the morning seemed like any other regular day.
Sharonda recalled, “The morning of the accident was just like any other morning. It was the first Friday of the school year, so it was still exciting. We were getting ready, taking pictures, you know?” After taking some pictures, they embarked on their journey. However, as Sharonda continued driving, she suddenly had a seizure, rendering her unconscious and unable to respond to Parker.
Showing immense bravery, Parker quickly took control of the situation. He unbuckled his seatbelt, seized the wheel, and maneuvered the car, which was now out of control and heading towards oncoming traffic, despite having no prior driving experience. The car eventually collided with a tree. Parker vividly recalls the rapid sequence of events and his instinctual response, saying, “Everything happened so fast. I grabbed the wheel, swerved away from traffic, and then there are a few moments I remember. I remember screaming and seeing my brother. My vision was blurry, and I noticed my ankle was broken.”
The injuries sustained by Parker, his mother, and his baby brother varied in severity. Sharonda had a few broken fingers and a fractured tailbone, while the baby only required minor stitches. Unfortunately, Parker’s injuries were more serious. He was rushed to the hospital with a broken ankle, punctured kidneys, broken ribs, and a perforated gallbladder. Sharonda vividly recalls waking up amidst the wreckage, hearing her baby crying in the backseat, and Parker desperately pleading for help before he was eventually rescued and taken away in an ambulance.
After a two-month hospital stay, Parker was informed that his leg would need to be amputated due to a blocked blood flow caused by his broken ankle. This devastating news took a toll on his mental health, leading to severe depression and anxiety in the following months. However, with determination, Parker fought to regain his cheerful and active nature.
With the assistance and generosity of Greenville’s Shriner’s Children’s Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) team, Parker was fitted with a prosthetic leg, allowing him to find comfort, support, and the ability to participate in sports once again. Sharonda affirms that Parker has regained his happiness and maintains a positive outlook on life. He now plays basketball on his middle school team.
Despite his young age, Parker’s strength and courage are truly remarkable. He has transformed his pain into a purpose by becoming an advocate and support system for others who have faced similar tragedies. Through his compassion, he lets people know that they are not alone and that he can relate to their struggles.
Parker’s mother proudly states, “Parker is as strong as ever. The team at Shriner’s Children’s helped him break free, and now he is limitless! He has reclaimed his personality, and he uses his story to comfort others.”
Parker’s heroic actions have earned him comparisons to classic superheroes like Spider-Man. His mother emphasizes that he is a real-life
hero, saying, “I live with a real-life hero. His younger brother often calls him Peter Parker because they admire Spider-Man. But let me tell you, Bryson, he’s a true hero. He not only saved my life but also yours.”
Parker’s compassion and courage are qualities that inspire and deserve admiration. When asked to define his interpretation of a hero, Parker explains, “To me, a hero is someone who does everything possible to keep things intact, no matter what. That’s exactly what I want to do for my mom, my brother, and everyone around me. I want them to know that no matter how big I become in life, I’ll always make sure they’re okay and well taken care of.”
His mother, Strong, is incredibly proud and grateful for raising a son with such essential and compassionate traits. She continues to witness Parker’s resilience and encourages him to believe in his ability to achieve anything, saying, “He hasn’t let anything stop him yet. Just keep going. The sky’s the limit.”
At such a tender age, Parker displayed an extraordinary amount of strength and courage that many people may never experience in a lifetime. The brave and heroic actions of children like Parker continue to inspire those who fully grasp the magnitude of their heroism. Today, Parker lives a fulfilling and happy life, focusing on sports and offering support to others during challenging times.
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