LAFAYETTE - Three months ago, Ty Wierl was your typical 8-year-old boy. He was very energetic, active and loved to play sports.
One day, he woke up with what his parents thought was a fever. They took him to the doctor and was told he was dehydrated. The next morning, Ty's father says his son was unable to walk. From there, he went to the hospital and would not leave for 90 days.
After several tests, it was determined that Ty somehow caught a virus known as transverse myelitis, which is a rare neurological disorder that causes the immune system to attack the nervous system.
For the next several weeks, Ty was paralyzed from the neck down and was unable to speak.
"He ended up with lesions in his brain and spinal cord. There's a mixture of just being in a complete nightmare," Ty's father Tyler Wierl said.
While Ty was in the hospital he received several letters and posters from his classmates. He also had a chance to see some of his friends. It was those simple acts of kindness along with the love and support of his family that encouraged him to keep fighting.
His goal, while in the hospital, was to return to school for the last day. He wanted more than anything to see his friends and teachers.
Two days before classes let out for summer vacation at Ryan Elementary School, Ty returned home. He rested up, got to read all of the notes his friends sent to his house and prepared to surprise his classmates before they left.
Thursday morning, with his parents and grandparents by his side, Ty returned to school. His classmates and teacher welcomed him back with hugs and cheers.
They showed him the gifts they made for him and told him what they were learning while he was gone, but it turns out, the students were learning from Ty.
Watching him persevere and overcome challenges taught them to never give up and to always work hard to achieve goals.
Doctor's don't know if Ty will ever walk again and say there isn't a cure or specific cause for the disorder, but Ty takes it in stride. He says he's excited to start playing wheelchair sports this summer.