Volunteer Spirit: Climbing mountains in honor of a friend

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- We featured Parker Smith more than a year ago (Spring 2012) as his friends and former baseball teammates held a tournament to help raise money for his medical needs.

He couldn't walk nor talk because of Wilson's disease.

His father, Eddie Smith describes it, "It messed up his motor skills and shorted everything out in his brain when it comes to movement."

But when we saw Parker recently, he walked, almost running a lap around the classroom.

His parents say he is making progress with medication and therapy.
"Hopefully this year it will be all about recouping and seeing how much further he can get," according to his dad.

He communicates through an iPad.
Requires some high tech gear like his wheelchair.
But he considers his condition a blessing not a burden, a way for him to teach others about god.

Parker recently reunited with a friend from 6th grade, Chris Patti.

He noticed Parker at a high school dance and didn't even know it was him.

Patti hadn't seen Parker in years, but knew he wanted to help.

When he found out it was a longtime friend, it meant even more.

Patti wants to help Parker battle his hurdle, by climbing mountains. Specifically, Mt Rainier in Washington State.

Patti says, "A 14,411 foot mountain and I would like people to sponsor me so the money I raise will go to Parker and his family and help pay for therapy."

When asked Parker's family about the hike, Ed responded "He is very mature for his age. I was very impressed."

Chris says that's what friends do for each other. And, he will use the next few weeks to train for the climb in June. But he's already feeling the impact.

"Already I have learned the true meaning of joy because even through pain and suffering, Parker just shows joy," says Chris.

And It's true, always a smile on his face, even when there are tears on others.

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