By Liz Weddon
As a senior this year at Vicksburg High School, Parys Gonzales has overcome many obstacles in his life. He still has a long road ahead of him. And he is not afraid to take it on.
Since birth, Parys has suffered from muscular dystrophy, a disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle in his lower body. “I’ve had MD my whole life, it started affecting me more when I was in 7th grade.” Parys said. “As I grew older, the muscles became weaker.” The disease has kept him in a wheelchair most of his life.
Parys was born in Kalamazoo and has been raised by his mother most of his life. He attended Portage Central schools until 7th grade, when he and his mom moved to Vicksburg where he continued his education through high school. In high school, he has become popular for his fun attitude and quick-witted humor. With his upbeat attitude towards life, Parys was not willing to give up his athletic abilities. He took them to the court and the ice, playing wheelchair basketball in 7th through 9th grades and sled hockey from 6th grade through freshman year in high school.
On top of that, Parys has participated in the VHS drum line all four years of high school. He put the shot in track and has been working as the football team manager for 2 years.
“My upper body is pitch perfect” he said, as if it were a joke.
But it’s no joke. One of Parys’ many hobbies is lifting weights at school and at Gorham Performance in Vicksburg three days a week. He is able to bench 235 pounds and curl a respectable 55 pounds. Parys said, “the key to a healthy life is eating healthy foods” which is exactly what he does. To become healthier, he has cut out fried foods and is limiting the amount of carbs in his diet.
Going into his senior year, Parys is undecided about which college he wants to attend. He has received letters from around the state, including Davenport and Oakland universities, and even beyond–Iowa State. He holds a 3.2 GPA and is interested in earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in sports management. “Training with Gorham Performance isn’t just about lifting weights. We learn how to become a better athlete and how to better others through leadership”
Although Parys has struggled with this troubling disease, he has worked hard to overcome it, succeeding and inspiring along the way.