If only Sebastián Fernández's former classmates could see him now.
Sebastián, 14, is gearing up to run the Los Angeles Marathon on March 15. He plans to participate in the event partly because he enjoys running but also to prove to himself and others that his disability is not enough to stop him from completing such a rigorous physical task.
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at eight months old, Sebastián is partially paralyzed on the right side of his body. He tells HOY Los Angeles that he was teased by many of his elementary school classmates, and the bullying didn't stop after repeated pleas to teachers and administrators.
Now Sebastián is at a more supportive school, and he says the encouragement of his classmates and his mom were important in his decision to run the marathon.
"When I was in seventh grade, I wasn't sure I wanted to do it," Sebastián told HOY Los Angeles. "But now in eighth grade I thought about it more and I felt like I could do it. My mom liked the idea of running the marathon, and she told me it would be good for me and that it would make her proud."
Sebastián mother, Izela Haro, won't be the only one beaming with joy on race day. Here's a look at Sebastián's story and the teachers who have supported him along the way: