Wyatt's journey: Upstate five-year-old paralyzed from chest down - FOX Carolina 21

Wyatt's journey: Upstate five-year-old paralyzed from chest down smiles through Rare Disease Day

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Wyatt Banks (FOX Carolina) Wyatt Banks (FOX Carolina)
GREENWOOD, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The words "eat my dust" hang clear as day on the back of Wyatt Banks’s chair, and it couldn't be more fitting of the 5-year-old's bold personality.

He was pushing himself around since he turned one, and now he can rock side to side and zoom around, sound effects and all.

“Vroom, vroom,” Wyatt laughed.

"He's got a joy for life, and instead of crying about the things he can't do, you know he really celebrates what he can do," Mom Abby Banks said.

Banks said there's no stopping Wyatt. One of his newest passions is wheelchair basketball.

The mother said it's hard to find Wyatt without a smile on his face. Even through the operations, she said he's always been so full of life.

"He had a procedure last week at Children's Hospital and he was high-fiving doctors on the way to the operating room and he's just not scared,” Banks said. “You know he just takes it in stride and he loves to interact."

Wyatt said he doesn't let his Transverse Myelitis define him. Even at his young age he has big dreams, and his mom said he works at them each and every day.

"He sees himself as an adult and in his mind he's walking when he's a grown up,” she said. “And I'm not going to keep him from thinking that, we still believe that one day in his lifetime there is going to be a cure for spinal cord injuries and my job is to keep him healthy so in 20 years he can take advantage of that if and when it comes."

But for now, he's just enjoying being a kid, flipping through his new search and find book.

“There's the other bear," Wyatt said. “I couldn’t find it!”

Banks kneels down next to her son and she said she remembers so clearly the day he was diagnosed, at the time it seemed like an uphill battle.

"Some of the things in the beginning that took so much time and that hurt my heart, now we just do them,” Banks said. “That's part of our life and sometimes I forget that everybody's life doesn't look like our life. Everybody doesn't have to carry the wheelchair out and pick their five-year-old up to carry him to bed. All of the things that are so normal to us now that used to seem so hard, but you just keep doing them."

That's what Banks wants to share with other parents. She said Rare Disease Day should be a day of hope, a chance to talk with parents who are fighting the same battles. Her message is simple: don't dwell on what your kids can't do, but instead find something to celebrate every day.

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