11-year-old quadriplegic keeps competitive spirit - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

11-year-old quadriplegic keeps competitive spirit

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REARDAN, Wash. - An 11-year-old boy is proving what you can do is more important than what you cannot. Zak Baldwin can't move his arms or legs but has adapted to do almost everything that anyone else can do, including raising livestock.

Zak was hit by a car while riding a dirt bike 4 years ago.

"I want people to realize that just because he's in a chair or other kids are in a chair or even adults, doesn't mean they have to live a quiet sheltered life," said Zak's mom, Liz Baldwin.

Liz was supportive when her son decided he wanted to raise a goat. Yes, a goat.

Zak's brother raised a pig for a livestock competition last year and sibling rivalry compelled Zak to participate as well.

"Typical brothers," said Liz.

The family bought a goat for Zak in January and Zak took responsibility for the animal, telling his family when and how to care for the animal.

"I was his hands and his legs for actually giving her the food and water," said Liz. "But he (Zak) had to direct me."

He spent hours teaching the animal to walk on a leash next to his wheelchair.

Zak won a purple ribbon, the highest color you can earn, at a competition last month. He sold the animal shortly thereafter.

Zak has been through more than a dozen surgeries since the crash but is looking forward to one of the biggest surgeries next week: Zak and his family are traveling to Sacramento for a procedure they hope will stimulate his breathing and allow the 11 year old to breathe without the help of a ventilator.

The family hopes Zak will be able to breathe on his own by the time school re-opens next fall.

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