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Paralyzed Leo HS student attends prom

Saturday, May 04, 2013
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A young victim of violence on Chicago's streets made a big step in his recovery by attending prom.

It's been a long time since Miles Turner has seen his high school classmates, but he made it here, and is making the most of his special night.

It was the night Miles Turner and his family has been waiting six and a half months for.

"Just seeing him now, he's smiling, now he's smiling, I was looking forward to that," said his mother, Angela Turner.

Tonight is prom night.

ABC 7's Diane Pathieu asked, "To see all of these family members being so proud of you in this moment, what is that like?"

"Good. Honored. Surprised," said Turner.

Turner and his family didn't think the night would be possible.

The Leo High School senior is bright, engaging, well liked and unlucky because he became another victim of gunfire. He is fortunate he has a strong family and inner discipline that says "I won't quit."

On Friday, he attends his prom.

It's been a long time since Miles Turner was out and about, a long time since he has had a haircut. That was the mission for prom night.

"Have you ever had this many people watch you get a haircut?" ABC7's Paul Meincke asked.

Miles is in a wheelchair that he is determined to one day leave behind. Last October, walking with his cousin at a Chicago intersection, Miles was shot five times. There were doubts that Miles would live.

"He was in ICU for two months, and six weeks of that he was in a coma. There was a real question about whether he would make it," said Dan McGrath, Leo High School president.

Before the shooting, Miles was a strapping lineman on the Leo High School football team, 6' 1", 300 pounds. He lost a third of his weight during his time in the hospital, but with family and classmates supporting him, Miles found an inner resolve to keep pushing and not abandon a dream.

"I want to go to college and play football and stuff. That's all I know," he said.

There are huge challenges ahead. Miles has very limited movement of his legs. His spine was not hit, but his spine is in what they call a sleep mode.

"The way he's fighting, saying, 'I'm going to do it,' who knows?" said mom Angela Turner.

"Just don't stop, don't quit, keep fighting, keep fighting," Miles said.

Until Friday morning, Turner wore dreadlocks like his dad, Miles IV.

"I like the way it feels, the way it looks," he said.

Miles chose to wear an all-white tux with an ocean blue vest and bow tie, just as his father wore for the same occasion years ago. The attendance for prom jumped when classmates heard that Miles would be coming.

And although Turner attended the prom sans date - his girlfriend is studying for her college finals - his friends made sure he was surrounded by love.

Many saw Turner for the first time since the shooting.

"We played football for four years together. I was shocked to hear the news what happened that day. I'm glad to see him now," said student Jordan Smiley.

He will also graduate on time and go on to college.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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