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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A teen left paralyzed following a drive-by shooting continues inspiring others. This time, he took center stage at a play about gangs and violence.
A drive-by shooting left Aaron Willis paralyzed as a young teen. But now, he’s showing off his acting chops as a student at FIU.
We’ve seen him through therapy. We were there for his first day back to school. We even watched him graduated high school.
We have cheered him on, cried for him and been inspired by his relentless strength and will.
Well, Willis is still inspiring us.
On Thursday night, the 19-year-old participated in a play. The subject: being something that has defined his young life violence.
In 2012, Willis was left paralyzed after being shot in the back during a drive by shooting while riding his bike near his home.
“All I heard were bullet flying by. By the time I looked back, I was already hit and on the floor,” he said.
The play called “The R and J Effect” put on in part by FIU is a modern day adaptation of Romeo and Juliette – a story about gangs and violence.
At the end of the 90 minute production, Willis comes out on his wheel chair – center stage, but he doesn’t perform. This isn’t a fictional script, no lines from Shakespeare. It’s his true story of survival.
The message of the play is clear: violence is never the answer.
His message to all of us? There is always something to be grateful for.
“Now that I really sit and think about it, getting shot wasn’t really all that bad because it opened a lot of doors for me,” he said.
Willis is a freshman at FIU. He is studying psychology. He hopes to be a counselor to kids one day.
His inspiring life deserves a round of applause for sure.