By Martin J. Reed
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 4, Oak Mountain High School ninth-grader Colby Spangler has faced numerous physical challenges throughout his life.
His mother, Kim Spangler, recalled how Colby couldn’t swallow properly as an infant and required extra assistance with feeding. Colby struggled to walk as a child and had surgery when he was 5 that helped him to walk independently at age 7.
“He may or may not require another leg surgery as he grows, but we are praying he doesn’t,” Spangler said.
Colby still has challenges with speech and grasping a pencil or fork without his hand shaking. But as a first-year percussionist with Oak Mountain High School’s band, he relishes the opportunity to wield a mallet to strike cymbals and a bass drum.
When the Shelby County school’s band program plays during an invitation-only festival at Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall on March 1, Colby’s participation will represent a lifetime of obstacles he has overcome to reach that achievement.
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