Hutto teen climbs the Enchanted Rock despite physical challenges

When he was born three months premature, his mom never thought she would see what he has been able to do.

HUTTO, Texas — Doing something no one would ever think you could do, that'd be an amazing feeling, right?

Every day is about overcoming challenges. For the Tilleys, it can be things like getting dinner on the table – a challenge because, for Sam Tilley, everything is a challenge.

"Everything he does we've had to teach him. Those challenges have been milestones," his mom, Joy Tilley, said. "Sam's got cerebral palsy from being born three months premature. He was 1 pound, 13 ounces." 

She has seen the challenges he faced from the moment he was born and now can relive those milestones through a book of memories.

"This was my wedding ring and it was able to fit over my hand," Joy Tilley said as she was going through Sam's baby book. "One of the hardest things that I've had to accomplish is getting him home."

"Watch out because I can do things that you can't even imagine that I can do," Sam said before describing one of his biggest feats. 

There are things that might seem impossible, but for Sam, they're just challenges he can take on.

"Sam had a field trip and the trip was taking the seventh- and eighth-grade class to Enchanted Rock," Joy Tilley explained. 

"[It] was a first for me because I had never climbed anything up that high of an altitude before," Sam added. 

"Being able to walk is a miracle, and the fact he was able to take every step, one at a time, was beautiful," she said.

He made it to the top with cheers from his classmates, 

"When I got up to the top, I felt weary yet overwhelmed with joy," Sam said. "And I was at the point where I wanted to cry."

It was a moment of joy his mom never thought she would see from her three-month-premature baby.

"Never," she said holding back tears. "I didn't know what to expect back then, but it's hard to believe that he's 100 pounds heavier. You know, that's our struggle every day and my job every day – encouraging him and reminding him he can do whatever he wants."

Sam is doing whatever he wants, and whatever he can, all to overcome challenges every day.

"He has no clue he's an inspiration to other people," Joy Tilley said. 

"Life can be an enjoyment, so enjoy it," Sam said.


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