Durham grad defies the odds after being diagnosed with brain disorder


DURHAM, NC (WTVD) — A young man from Durham defied the odds by crossing the stage during his high school graduation.

Amari Williams was diagnosed with a brain disorder aged just two and his family were told he would never walk or talk again.

Tamara Williams was moved to tears as she watched her firstborn Amari walk through the graduation stage on Monday.

After 2 years of healthy living, Williams said her son started showing signs of seizures and acting out, then was no longer able to walk or eat properly.

Doctors diagnosed him with encephalitis.

“All we knew how to do was pray and hope and pray. So we were at Duke for about six weeks, you know, doing the tests and everything. After we went to Duke, the doctors wanted us to go to the Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, so we went there for about four or five weeks, Amari got into rehab,” Williams said.

She took time off from school to take care of him and she said her prayers worked and got them to where they were this week.

“So many thoughts of how he wasn’t walking when he couldn’t walk, when he couldn’t talk, when he couldn’t eat or whatever. And now he was this young African American guy in healthy, strong and graduated from high school. It was a huge accomplishment,” she said.

Amari said he had very few memories of his time in the hospital, but he knew going through the scene was a miracle.

“I made it my biggest focus because I was my mother’s firstborn. And the way she talks about me and how she’ll like her to tell me the good and the bad. And like what do so that I can stay on the right path.” Amari said.

Amari said her favorite part of walking on stage was seeing her family in the crowd. He plans to go into carpentry or construction.

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