César Ibañez, a sophomore studying biology, has overcome many trials in his life, allowing him to be the man he is today.
He said one of the many blessings he has had in his life are his roommates and the kindness they have shown him.
Ibañez was born with a unique disability called spinal muscular atrophy.
“Spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, is an inherited condition that causes nerve cells in the lower part of the brain and spinal cord to break down and die. When this happens, the brain stops sending signals to the body’s muscles,” according to the Kids Health website on SMA.
He said that when he was 10 years old, he was diagnosed with the disorder, and doctors told him he would not live beyond the age of 14.
However, he has exceeded all expectations and is now 30 years old and a successful college student.
Because he is confined to a wheelchair, Ibañez needs the physical assistance of others in his everyday life.
However, he said he feels blessed because he has amazing roommates who are strong in the gospel and who have forever changed his life.
“They made sure that I was ready in the morning and helped me get out of bed and get going so that I would get to my classes on time,” Ibañez said. “They helped me with my other daily needs.”
He said they helped him find transportation as well.
“We started living together in spring of 2013, and then fall semester came about,” Ibañez said. “And so we were trying to get ready for winter.”
At that time, getting to campus was dangerous because they had to use a truck to transport his heavy wheelchair.
“It wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t safe, especially where things got cold and slippery,” Ibañez said.
He said his roommates put together a story about the situation, which was later published by local news media.
Nate Sunderland of East Idaho News was intrigued by his story and decided to write a full article about it, Ibañez said.
Ibañez said that learning about spinal muscular atrophy did not affect him as much as some might think.
He said that looking back, he sees that God has really blessed him.
“It has helped me see how the Lord is definitely very, very involved in my life just because I have these Christlike guys there willing to help me and raise me up,” Ibañez said.
He said one of his favorite scriptures that really illustrated this is Ether 12:27, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
Ibañez’s roommates held a charity event titled “Ceez the Night” to raise money for his expenses.
Learn more about “Ceez the Night” at http://ceeztheday.com/.