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May 22, 2013 12:26 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Multiple Sclerosis doesn't stop this go-getter Tucson grad

TUCSON - At the end of senior year of high school, students sign yearbooks and reflect on the good times, something that isn't hard to do for Senior Braden Whitaker.

Name an activity and the student body president has probably participated in it at some point throughout high school. "I was the school mascot, I was in National Honor Society, I earned the rank of Eagle Scout with my scout troop," Whitaker says.

The list goes on.

But what is even more impressive about Whitaker is that he participated in all of those activities after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. "I woke up on the second day of my senior year and my hand was numb," Whitaker says.

He was devastated. "I was really scared of what the future might hold," Whitaker says.

Every night Whitaker says he has to inject medicine into his thighs, hips and arms. "I've lost feeling in my toe and then one of my hands," Whitaker says.

But it didn't take long for him to realize he wasn't going to let MS define his senior year. "Ultimately it's my choice if I'm happy," Whitaker says. "So I'll go with what I got and always stride to succeed."

It's a motto that has earned Whitaker several outstanding student awards and the respect of his peers.

While he still doesn't know how MS will impact his future, he's leaving high school having learned one of his most important lesson: to stay positive, even during the toughest of times.

Whitaker plans to attend Brigham Young University next year. He hopes to one day become a doctor and help others with multiple sclerosis.

He will be speaking tonight at the Ironwood Ridge High School graduation. It starts at 7 p.m. at the school football field, located at 2475 W. Naranja Dr.

Amphi Public School District says 455 seniors will walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.

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