All those hours of hard work that I put into watching SportsCenter (often the same episode back-to-back) have paid off!

Last night they aired the story of Aaron Fotheringham, a teenager from Las Vegas who, despite being born with spina bifida, became the first person ever to land a wheelchair backflip — at a skatepark, of course.

Aaron seems like a remarkable kid — he has overcome so much in his life. And the story gets better: this feature told the story of how he has been inspiring other kids like him around the world. One 4-year old, Zach, had suffered a stroke at 18 months that left him a wheelchair as well. ESPN caught up with Zach as he got to spend a couple of days with his idol, Aaron:

Their connection is immediate and real, as Zach’s laughter echoes across the contours of the park, his eyes never leaving Aaron’s dashing chair. Watching it all in front of her, Linda Puddy wipes away her tears. “I didn’t know what to do until I saw Aaron, and then I knew,” she says. “It gives Zachary a direction to go.” “He’s a hero,” she says, watching the teenager pushing her son down a small slope. “Zach thinks that Aaron flies.”

Who needs those NBA commercials to make us cry when we’ve got inspirational stories like Aaron’s?

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