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Teacher carries student with spina bifida on back so she can enjoy field trip

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Spinal Cord Injury:

10-year-old Ryan King has spina bifida, and when field trips are not wheelchair accessible, she has to miss out. But on a recent trip for school, Ryan got to join in on the fun – because a teacher volunteered to carry her the whole way.

Jim Freeman carried Ryan Neighbors, 10, on his back as the group weaved through the rugged terrain at the Falls of the Ohio State Park last Friday.

JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. — Physical barriers nearly canceled a field trip for one fourth grader who is in a wheelchair, but a teacher at the school refused to let that happen.

Jim Freeman’s generosity will likely never be forgotten by Ryan Neighbors and her family.

“When I got to see the fossils and stuff, I was like, wow, that’s like, really cool. I haven’t gotten to see that before,” Neighbors told WLKY News.

Her mother, Shelly King, explained that her daughter has been in a wheelchair all her life. The 10-year old has spina bifida.

While she sparkles just as brightly as her peers, her condition has been an obstacle for previous field trips, according to King.

Freeman stepped in to make this trip different.

A teacher at Roberta Tully Elementary School carried Ryan King, 10, on his back so she wasn’t left out of a field trip due to accessibility issues.

He used a special backpack to tote her through the rugged outdoor terrain at the park.

“As soon as we got her strapped in, she’s like, this is the part I’ve been waiting for,” Freeman said.

He teaches in the class next to Neighbors’ classroom.

When King found out he wanted to help her daughter, she cried tears of joy.

“It melted my heart,” King said. “He’s not even Ryan’s teacher and he was so pure hearted that he wanted to make sure that she was included and not left out and she got to feel like one of her peers.”

King posted the unexpected act of kindness to Facebook on Friday. By Monday, there were thousands of comments, reactions and shares of support.

“Never feel like you’re left alone,” Neighbors told WLKY News.

Freeman said he was not looking for recognition, adding he does not feel that he did anything out of the ordinary.

“This is just one physical act that you can see, but we do this countless times throughout the school day and throughout the year,” Freeman said. “All the teachers here at Tully and JCPS, they work harder than most people realize.”

King posts updates on her daughter’s journey here.

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