Hero Dad Helps Disabled Son, Patrick Hughes, Fulfill His Dreams
Patrick Henry Hughes was born without eyes and the ability to fully straighten his arms and legs, making it impossible for him to walk.
But thanks to Hughes' insatiable drive and his father's dedication, these debilitating disabilities have never hindered him from fulfilling his ambitions.
Hughes, now 23, first made headlines in 2006 when he became a trumpet player for the 220-member Louisville Cardinals marching band.
It was band director Greg Byrne who encouraged Hughes, then a college freshman, to join the band. Both blind and wheelchair-bound, Hughes was understandably baffled at first.
"My dad and I hear this and we're like, 'uh, right'. I mean, how in the heck am I supposed to march?" Hughes recalls with a laugh in this 2009 video.
But march he did, with the help of his dad -- who pushed his wheelchair around the field, jogging, spinning and maneuvering the chair in complicated formations.
"I never had any doubt Patrick could do it. The only question was whether I could do my part," Hughes' father told the Miami Herald.
In 1999, the elder Patrick quit his job as a systems analyst and started working the graveyard shift at UPS so that he could spend his daytime hours at his son's side -- sitting in with him for college classes and attending every band practice.
To this day, Hughes' dad -- who travels the world with him -- continues to be his right-hand man and biggest fan.
"He's my hero… What he goes through, it's taught me that I don't really have any complaints," Hughes' father said, "I guess a father couldn't ask for more than the relationship I have with Patrick."
Hughes was an infant when his parents discovered that he had an incredible talent for music, reports theFW.com. Over the years, this natural ability blossomed into a virtuosity on the piano and the trumpet.
Today, Hughes, who graduated from college magna cum laude in 2010, is a world-renowned musician and public speaker. Hughes has also released two albums and authored a successful book, aptly entitled "I Am Potential: Eight Lessons On Living, Loving And Reaching Your Dreams".
"Back then he was born it was, 'Why us? What did we do that this happened to us?'" Hughes' father told ABC. "And we ask the same question nowadays, but we put it in a whole new light. You know, 'What did we do to deserve such a special young man, who's brought us so, so much."
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