It's every parent's worst nightmare, "The fear that came onto me, I couldn't even speak to tell Karen what had happened," explains Richard Szatkowski.
On December 3rd, 2011, Richard and Karen Szatkowski received a call that changed their life forever, "I got a phone call from a police officer from Luzerne and he said your son was in a terrible car accident and he has severe head injury and you need to get to Geisinger Hospital."
From that moment on, the Szatkowski's world was turned upside down. Damon had suffered severe brain damage and doctors said he would never make it, "We heard words like vegetable. We heard words like you have a decision to make," explains Karen.
But Damon's parents refused to give up. Their motto: There is no option but to get better. After months of countless surgeries, in and out of different hospitals and rehab centers, Damon's parents say they saw little signs that continued to give them hope, "I kept seeing things. I kept seeing his eyes, when one eye was open, he would track us in the room."
After six months of no communication, Damon was finally able to give his first thumbs up, a small indicator of what was to come. Two months later he started speaking. Damon was able to regain full control of the right side of his body and although he suffered severe brain damage, his memory is miraculously fully intact. The child who doctors said wouldn't survive, is now thriving. Damon is back at Dallas High School taking calculus and chemistry, "He just got an 89 on a chemistry test. I'm so proud of him."
He sends text messages, chats on facebook, plays basketball in the living room and studies for school. He's a typical senior, planning for prom.
Damon is set to graduate high school in June. While that is a feat in and of itself, he has bigger plans for that day. With a pencil and paper, Damon announced he is going to walk across the stage at graduation. "The inspiration that he gives us all because he doesn't want to quit. He doesn't want to stop. He knows how far he is going to go and he has no doubt in his mind he is going to get all the way there."
Damon can teach us all a little lesson about life, "There's no way to judge the will of the human spirit."
Damon is working on walking every day at physical therapy. He's determined to walk across the stage at graduation. We will be sure to keep tabs on him to see if he does it.