A stunning story of perseverance, self-sacrifice and hope emerged out of Lipscomb University Saturday when a man with cerebral palsy was awarded a bachelor’s degree.
Student Seth Walker and his long-time helper Ken Brassell walked across the graduation stage May 4 to receive a degree which was five years in the making.
Walker, a Bible major, was born completely lifeless — doctors could not detect any heartbeat. By the grace of God, the medical team managed to revive him 30 minutes later, but by then, Seth’s brain has been so starved of oxygen that he was left with a permanent disability — a condition called cerebral palsy.
“Cerebral palsy affects brain function and is a lifelong condition with no cure,” said Walker, with the help of Brassell. “It can be severe or mild and can affect any area of the brain, from muscle control to speech to cognitive skills. My cerebral palsy is in the middle. It affects my muscles, not allowing them to work correctly, but God has blessed me with a sharp, bright mind.”
Indeed He has — but the Lord wasn’t finished yet!
Walker told Lipscomb University how he prayed fervently for the opportunity to study at college. Incredibly, as this intelligent young man’s parents were praying that their church would provide the right person to help their son achieve his academic dream, his future helper, Ken, was also seeking the Lord for the right person to assist in their studies.
“As I was praying, my computer dinged showing I had a notification from my church’s Facebook page,” Brassell said. “The new post was about a family at church, looking for someone to accompany their son to college. God spoke to me and told me I would be the one to help him.”
The rest was history. The pair quickly became great friends, meeting every day at 8 a.m. sharp before heading to class.
“I am his hands, his feet and his voice,” Brassell explained. “If Seth has a question in class, I raise my hand and ask the question for him.”
Bristling with newfound confidence as a full-fledged college student, Seth became well-known among his peers, meeting up with friends between seminars and lectures.
“He loves to go to the student center if we have time in between classes,” Brassell said. “Seth points out people he wants to talk to and I push him over to whomever he wants to talk to. I can’t tell you how many friends he has made, maybe hundreds of friends, just in the student center.”
Ken said that Seth “will probably tell you he is thankful for what I’ve done, but I can tell you I am more thankful that I did it because I think I got more blessings out of it than he did.”
“He is one of the finest people I have ever met,” he added. “He is so smart it blows my mind. Seth is the most patient person to be with. If we were all more like Seth, the world would be a better place.”
Walker plans to continue his studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.