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Cameron Smith

Paralyzed athlete given handicap house just in time for holidays

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It's the season for giving, when heartwarming stories of personal and community sacrifice get the most attention. Yet one of those stories, focusing on a high school star who truly needs the help, has been more than a year in the making.

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In early October 2009, 14-year-old Jared Williams was injured in a freak accident where another player's helmet hit him in the neck as he went in for a tackle. The Pinkston (Texas) High football player went down and had to be stretchered off the field, discovering only hours later that the accident had left him largely paralyzed.

[Related: Paralyzed NFL lineman is back on his feet]

The year since has been a long and arduous one for the teenager, who now gets around in a motorized wheelchair and is cared for by his mother, Arienna Williams. It's a difficult task, with the single parent trying to care for her son and provide funds to keep them housed and fed.

[Rewind: Team's big donation to help paralyzed player]

Yet that just got a bit easier, just in time for the holidays, with the gift of a new house for the Williamses, with the new dwelling built to be as handicap accessible as possible, unlike their current home.

According to the Dallas Morning News, fundraising for the new home began shortly after Williams was paralyzed last year, when Pinkston High and Dallas ISD started a fundraising campaign called Project 24, named for Williams' number. The campaign was so successful that, with the help of a few private donations, it raised enough money to pay for the Williams' entire new home.

Now the pair is waiting on the final touches to be completed, including a beautification project to help plant different shrubs and flowers around the property, with all landscaping support provided by Dallas ISD athletes.

[See also: Blind swimmer inspires teammates with dedication, perseverance]

It's a touching effort from a badly taxed public school system and any number of others who stepped forward when they didn't have to, to help a student who badly needed it. Williams isn't forgetting his own good fortune, either.

When a fellow Dallas-area athlete Diondre Preston, a quarterback for Molina (Texas) High, was paralyzed earlier this season, Williams and his mother were two of the first visitors to the player's hospital room the next morning.

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