He was an established little one and loved riding his bicycle and swimming. His life changed, though, when his family realized he fell down generally when actively playing sports like T-ball. They took him to see a doctor.
At the age of 7, Steward was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an inherited problem that entails rapidly worsening muscle weakness. He halted jogging in the age of 12.
Now, 26 years old, Steward’s desire job is to design cars, as opposed to race them. he’s specified to graduate from LCU nowadays having a bachelor’s amount in graphic communications.
“Since I’m not capable to function on cars, I really feel the need to function with my hands, and that’s a minor bit why I really enjoy graphic design so much,” he said. “I’m capable to function with my arms and be arms on.”
Steward has studied at LCU for three years, and took fundamentals at to the south Plains college for three years before. A graduate of Frenship higher School, he’s bound to some wheelchair and can genuinely only move his wrists.
His mother, Vicki Steward, explained Zack has always loved going quick and everything with wheels. He includes a modified 1949 Ford panel truck he drives sometimes, she said, and he invested time junior drag racing when he was younger.
His father modified his drag racer with hand controls plus a program to decrease and raise him to and through the driver’s cage. He raced from age 13 till he turned 18, Vicki Steward said, when the family determined the sport was too risky. it absolutely was a lot of function figuring out the finest way to put on his gloves, shoes, jacket, pants, helmet and neck restraints, she said, but it absolutely was worth it.
“It was important because we had determined that he would reside a normal life,” she said, tearing up, “that what ever he had wanted to do, that people would make certain he could do it. it absolutely was tough.”
Attending college was a single of individuals goals.
Alisha Wallace, the coordinator of Disability solutions at LCU, has worked with Zack Steward for around two years, aiding him with accommodations.
Some modifications are actually created at LCU given that he began attending courses there, such as adding a push key to the electronic doors around the library and relocating front door handles on other buildings.
Although he has actual limitations, Wallace explained Steward is academically very capable. he’s anticipated to undertake the same coursework as other students, but might take tests in the screening middle with an lengthy time.
“He won’t complain. He won’t request for extensions, which is recognized as a huge offer because other students do that,” she said. “He’s a single of my students who faces essentially the most challenging challenges, however he works the hardest.”
It requires Steward about 5 working hours to have ready for college within the mornings, Wallace said. He will become aching and fatigued rapidly due to overworking his muscles, and needs two to three working hours of actual treatment a day, as well as a single weekly check out to the chiropractor.
But that does not get him down, Wallace said.
“He has an excellent personality, an excellent impression of humor. He’ll joke around with me. He’s a single of my favorites,” she said. “He never complains,” she said. “I know he goes to actual therapy, the chiropractor, the health practitioner constantly, but he never complains. … He includes a genuinely perfect heart. He’s been through a lot. He has some thick skin and he’s just an inspiration. I informed him on his birthday, the life expectancy for (Duchenne muscular dystrophy) is mid-20s; he just turned 26 in November. He’s an inspiration to me and a lot of others.”
Former coordinator of specific solutions for to the south Plains College, Maggie Seymour, worked with Steward during his time around the Reese middle campus. She recalled the college student as delightful, difficult operating and dedicated, and explained it is difficult not to adore him.
“He has no other barriers in any way in my opinion,” the assistant professor of reading through said. “He’s this form of a bright, bright, difficult operating youthful man.”
Steward admits he didn’t always have this form of a optimistic view on life. right after he halted jogging when he was 12, he had to possess tendon-release surgery. He recalled getting angry at his situation and feeling like his actual capacity had been used away.
But a actual therapist at Covenant health program named Laura Hinojosa never gave up on him.
“She could not ease up on him. She always had a quick answer, and she did not really feel sorry for him. She did not enable him quit,” Vicki Steward said.
The actual therapist was just a single associate of your huge support program preserving the Steward family going, Vicki Steward said. Doctors, therapists, classmates, instructors and LCU staff members, as well as his siblings, Cameron, Morgan and Michelle, form what Zack’s mother cell phone calls their backup team.
“It’s this form of an excellent support system. all of us depend on a single another,” she said. “It requires much more than just a single of us to help achieve his goals. every a single has performed a very important part. … it is like a tiny village.”
After a latest graphic design internship using the 34th road Association, a party of volunteers committed to encourage the improvement and accessibility of 34th Street, Zack Steward is convinced graphic design could be the area for him.
He is applying to and interviewing for design jobs for post-graduation, and he’s enthusiastic about freelancing function and possibly owning his personal business someday.
Graduating college for Steward is recognized as a milestone, and he’s especially proud to prove his determination to school. He explained two of his maternal great-uncles also had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and were not capable to attend college because they were confined to wheelchairs.
“I’m very excited in regards to the ceremony. It feels like i’ve connected with a single of the huge goals i’ve had in my life, which is to graduate college and turn out to be educated,” Steward said. “I had some (relatives) that didn’t reach head to college because they were in wheelchairs and couldn’t walk. … That on your own is recognized as a huge accomplishment — that i’ve long gone to college and completed an education. I’m trying to strive in direction of a career.”