Former valedictorian visits class

Submitted story

LEWISTOWN — Indian Lake graduate Alex Malarkey made a recent visit to the ILHS Anatomy class to discuss in detail the injury that left him paralyzed as a child.

Malarkey sustained a serious spinal cord and brain injury in an auto accident 12 years ago when he was just six years old. Since that time, he’s been a quadriplegic. His mother, Beth, is his contact companion and caregiver.

He told the students, “When you go through severe trauma, it’s a blur, you just live through it. Now I learn something more all the time about my body.”

Malarkey explained to the class about the many machines and life-support systems he carries with him on his specialized chair. He also talked about advances in those devices that have made his life more comfortable, such as his portable humidifier that makes breathing through his vent easier. One student asked if he will ever get better and Malarkey responded, “I have!”

In 2016, Malarkey capped off four years of study at Indian Lake High School by earning a 4.0 grade point average and graduating Valedictorian. Since graduation, Malarkey has been focusing on his health and reading dozens upon dozens of books. He has big plans for the future.

“I want to go to college eventually because I get really bored. I love tracking terrorism around the globe—that’s what I spend my time doing. I’d love to do something involved with fighting that, like fly drones with my mouth stick.”

Alex is working hard to someday get off the vent that helps him breathe and continue to get stronger by standing on his tilt table to exercise and build muscles.

Still, he keeps a healthy sense of humor saying, “It’s fun because you don’t have to do anything for yourself. It’s a breeze!”

Submitted story