Alex Balenger is reading the speech that his brother can't be here to read himself—17 year old Nick Balenger is too sick to make it to the fundraiser in his honor.
Nick wanted so badly to be there—to show everyone—all the progress he has made since fracturing two vertebrae in his neck back in July. It happened while Nick was body-surfing during a family vacation in Hawaii. In December, ABC7 talked to Nick about the accident that ended his time as a star pitcher on the Lake Braddock High School baseball team.
“I'd say the morning is the worst part—waking up and just wanting to get out of bed and just take a shower but I can't do that anymore,” Nick said.
Nick's mom tells us he is working hard to change that.
“The biggest progress is now he's able to walk around the house with a cane," said Nick’s mother, Sylvie Balenger.
Nick has also returned to school.
His strength has inspired many—including his brother.
"I don't know how he does it. I guess it's just something in him that pushes him forward, I don't know how to explain it,” said Nick’s brother, Alex.
Nick is also having a huge impact on the community—many of the people at the fundraiser have never met Nick but wanted to be here to help.