Teen in wheelchair marches at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with a little help from her friends

adminNovember 21, 2018

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By Jay Blackman

Before the 400-member band from Texas' Keller High School takes to the field, senior student Kailey Summons makes sure the music section is at its best, reviewing everything from her hats to her laces.

The section leader pays special attention to freshman Drew Bell.

"Where are your gloves?" Invokes, 18, asks with a curious look.

"I make sure he's ready for everything," Summons says, "it's not just that I'm focused on myself, it's him and me."

Bell, 15, was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that left him with a hole in the spinal cord.

After seven surgeries, the first of which she underwent while still in utero, she uses a wheelchair to move around. He would not let that frustrate his dream of marching with his school band. And now, Bell and Summons will join the rest of their bandmates as one of the 12 bands that march in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Tonight on "NBC Nightly News," Kristen Dahlgren meets with Kailey and Drew as they prepare to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"It's very exciting," Summons said. "I never thought I'd be in any parade, not to mention the Macy's Day Parade."

When asked how long he had wanted to play with the award-winning Keller High School band, Bell said: "Since I can remember, I've always liked this band."

But he could not move his wheelchair and play his trumpet at the same time.

When the leaders were looking for a way to leave Drew, Kailey did not hesitate.

"The directors of my band were something like, if we get someone to stand at their feet, he can be the trumpeter, and I thought, 'I'll do it,'" Summons said with a smile.

In the field, while Drew plays the team's fight song, Kailey takes him through the intricate choreography, back and forth, and finally to a formation that spells the name of the school across the field.

He understands the sacrifice that Summons makes and adds: "She did not have to, she wanted to do it. That means a lot for me."

And, he said, the whole band has welcomed him.

"I did not expect it," Bell said. "I would think they would like it, maybe not like me, but now I know it is, so it's really good."

When the pre-game program ends, the two head to the stands and Kailey extends her hand to help him up the stairs.

It is evident that their association has become a true friendship.

"The fact that someone is different from you does not mean you have to treat them differently and that sometimes you have to treat them the same," Summons explained. "He likes it and I like it."

When asked what message to participate in the parade is sent, Bell stopped and said: "I think you can do anything if you try as hard as you can".

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