One Teen's Inspiring Quest: Walk By Graduation Day

New Hampshire teen Connor Shaughnessy, a month after brain surgery, is ready to walk at graduation.

Connor Shaughnessy, April 2014.
Connor Shaughnessy, April 2014.
By Dan Tuohy

Nashua, New Hampshire – Connor Shaughnessy wasn't sure he'd be walking up to get his diploma on graduation day.

Shaughnessy has the grades and plans to attend college. His obstacle was a rare genetic disorder that left him in a wheelchair earlier this year with 65 staples in his head.

"The doctors are amazing," Connor said recently. "The recovery is coming along pretty well."

Connor, 17, has suffered from as Myoclonus dystonia. After brain stimulation surgery this year, Connor was left using a wheelchair. Today, most of the staples have been removed, he is down to just three. And the Nashua High School South senior has begun walking again – meeting a goal he set for himself to be able to walk up and receive his diploma on June 14.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Connor said.

Becky Shaughnessy said her son was diagnosed nine years ago with Myoclonus and, then, last November, with the dystonia form. It is a rare genetic neurological disorder. It is so rare that his Myoclonus dystonia (DTY11) is believed to be the first known case in New England.

Connor plans to attend Onondaga College, to study electronic media communications, and later possibly a career in video production. The world is big and full of choices and chances.

Connor's parents, Becky and Mark Shaughnessy are trying to build awareness for Myoclonus dystonia. They are helping their son grow stronger by the day. They are helping him live – as much as possible given the circumstances – like your typical high school senior.

They are also working to pay medical expenses. To that end, an online fundraising site was established to help them pay some of those bills. The fundraising goal is $5,000.

On the web:
Connor S. Myoclonus Dystonia DYT11 Fund


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