Rock climber overcomes stroke at young age

ATLANTA -- If you're looking back at 2013 and doubting what goals you'll be able to accomplish next year, take a lesson from a 10-year old Will Penn.

"It's harder, but I do like a challenge," he said.

He is scaling walls and climbing past his challenges virtually one-handed.

"Sometimes I just feel like its unfair that it doesn't happen to other kids, that my left side doesn't work as hard as theirs," he explained.

Without warning, something very rare happened to Will.

"He was perfect, that perfect child. Very athletic. Very smart. Very funny and every night I used to thank my lucky stars I had these two lucky children. And then you go from that to the next day fighting for his life," said Will's mother, Jenn Penn.

Blood vessels in his head began to bleed when he was very young. It caused a stroke and, ultimately, a massive brain hemorrhage. That perfect child, athletic and smart, woke up paralyzed and blind in a hospital.

He didn't give up. Two years, lots of physical therapy and a lot of metaphorical walls to climb, and Will Penn is climbing real walls again with the help of the team at Catalyst Sports.

They train climbers with missing limbs or arms, like Will's, that have trouble grasping. As he put it, it's a good challenge.

"You see them they don't. They just do it. For him to be around kids with other challenges is phenomenal," Will's mother explained.

She still thanks her lucky stars every day, for a 10 year old who learned a secret about life by climbing to the top.

"If there's anything that stopped you from doing things, don't let it stop you," he said.

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