Be the Change: former Shriners Hospital patient gives back

A young man from New Underwood wants to give back to the hospital that helped him cope with cerebral palsy.

A BHSU sophomore has been in and out of the Shriners Hospital for Children in Minnesota since he was five years old.
And now that his journey as a patient there has ended, he wants to show them his gratitude.

We head to Spearfish to find out how in this week's Be the Change.

For fifteen years, Wyatt Bills went through sixteen operations at Shriners Hospital to help him overcome the limitations of cerebral palsy.

Wyatt Bills says, "Originally from birth, it was not sure if I was going to be able to walk without the assistance of crutches or a walker and because of all the effort that the Shriners Hospital in Minnesota put towards me, I'm able to go to college. I'm able to do all these sorts of amazing things that I never originally would even dream of."

And to thank them, Wyatt started a fundraiser in honor of the dedicated team that took care of him throughout his surgeries.

Wyatt Bills says, "They absolutely changed my life. Without them, it's difficult to tell where I'd be."

Although the operations have greatly helped Wyatt, he does still need to do exercises for his spastic cerebral palsy.
He describes it as the constant tightening or contracting of the muscles, which causes his movements to be stiff.
To help mitigate these symptoms, Wyatt does stretching and balancing exercises.

Wyatt Bills says, "So what this balance ball does is it helps with my balance in day to day life to keep me on my feet. It keeps my lower body active."

Kyle Graves works with Wyatt at KBHU-TV.

Kyle Graves says, "I would describe him as outgoing. Very personable. He's very understanding about other people because he has such a story behind his own life. He gets involved in many different organizations on campus so it's pretty great to see what he's doing next."

And he says Wyatt doesn't let his CP get in the way of doing what he loves.

Wyatt's co-worker Kyle Graves says, "Wyatt doesn't make his CP who he is. He lets the CP just be another part about his story. He is an athlete. He is an outgoing journalist."

To help Wyatt and Shriners Hospital, visit https://donate.lovetotherescue.org/fundraiser/1161036.

If you know someone who is "being the change" for the Black Hills Community and would like to nominate them for a story, send an email with their contact information to katrinal@blackhillsfox.com.