PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The iconic Art Museum steps is a landmark in Philadelphia. For many, the steps represent triumph over challenges thanks to Rocky in that famous movie. For a young man learning how to walk again, taking those steps on the first day of spring means he’s getting back to life.
Chase Friedman’s 2021 couldn’t have started worse.
“When I woke up, I couldn’t move or feel anything under my shoulders,” Friedman said.
The Los Angeles native describes on his TikTok page a horrific incident while visiting a friend in Philadelphia for New Year’s, waking up paralyzed after falling in a bathroom.
Surgery stabilized him, and a grueling rehab process began.
“They said that I might not ever walk again,” Friedman said. “They said there was a 50/50 chance.”
Over the next 79 days, Friedman continues to make significant progress.
“My main goal, the thing I just couldn’t get out of my head, was to climb the Rocky steps,” Friedman said.
Which brought Friedman to the base of the Art Museum steps on Saturday, the first day of spring. Friedman climbed out of his wheelchair and ascends — one step at a time.
“And I look up halfway through and everywhere I looked, there’s a person … I didn’t even realize there was that crowd initially,” Friedman said. “And it was just, I don’t know. It was insane. It was so overwhelming. I felt all this love, it was great. It was incredible. I just pushed and pushed, and the only thing I ever worried about was getting better.”
Friends, family, and total strangers cheered as it took Friedman four minutes and 39 seconds to reach his Rocky moment and proof that anything is possible.
“What’s next? We’re going to Disneyland,” he said. “and we’re skipping every line.”