East Texan Draws Strength, Hope From Reeve

He inspired millions of people, including an East Texan. After being paralyzed in a horse riding accident nine years ago, actor Christopher Reeve has died.

Reeve became a vocal advocate for increased funding and research for spinal cord injuries. That vision of hope resonated, especially, with one young East Texan, living as a quadriplegic since April.

For Bryan Smith, a typical day is spent in physical therapy. Much different than before he was involved in a tragic accident.

"On the way back to school, to Nacogdoches, it was just a rainy day fog... then it happened."

On a rainy April day, the 21 year old was headed back to school at Stephen F. Austin State University. But on the way, he crashed. The accident broke his back and left him a quadriplegic.

"All the things that I enjoyed doing kind of came to a stop and it's just a jolt to the system."

The former athlete and prom king from Brownsboro High School, now forced to rely on others. Bryan's mother Brenda, is his primary caretaker.

"It's amazing to see Bryan he's the strength of not only our immediate family but our extended family and the community," she said "If anybody is going to progress more it's going to be Bryan, he's gonna do that."

While Brenda gets her strength from her son, Bryan says he looked to people like Christopher Reeve. He says even before the accident his story was inspiring.

"Every time I heard his story I would just kind of stop.. It's an amazing person to be able to stay that positive through something like that."

He says while Reeve's death has come as a shock, his life and his memory will serve a greater purpose.

"I believe people are now realizing how difficult it is and how people like us struggle everyday and it's becoming a big issue which is something good," Bryan said. "The way I'll remember him is the way he fought this.. It is more heroic than anything Superman ever did, to stand up and fight from a day-to-day basis there is something definitely inspiring and something I'll draw strength from."

Over the past few months doctors say Bryan has shown amazing progress. He now has partial use of both his arms and in just the last two weeks has shown some movement in his legs.

Bryan says he will continue to work hard and believes one day, he will walk again.

Chris Gibson, reporting