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A University of Central Arkansas student with cerebral palsy made it to the top of Little Rock’s Pinnacle Mountain last month, thanks to six good Samaritan frat brothers who helped her out by carrying her the entire way.
Inside Edition reports that DeAsia Romes, 22, struggles with many of the same issues that affect a number of people cerebral palsy: coordination and balance. These issues make it difficult for her to travel to the top of any mountain, much less one Pinnacle Mountain, which has an elevation of 1,011 feet. According to Romes,
“I was a little nervous. I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is safe’ but then I thought we’re just going to be spontaneous and go with it. I’m just a very adventurous person.”
Phi Gamma Delta member Benjamin Richards was the first person to approach Romes with the idea, after he read about another fraternity carrying a student with quadriplegia to the top of the Appalachian Mountains. The gesture inspired Richards. He knew Romes from his gym class and figured she would be the perfect candidate, given her adventurous spirit.
With that, Richards recruited five other fraternity brothers to help him, including Hayden Murry, Steven Bowen, Corey Pillow, Landon Bear and Ceasar Ramirez. The original plan was to put Romes in a hammock and carry her, but they decided that taking turns giving her a piggyback lift would be more ideal. Once the plan kicked in action and team started up the mountain on August 21, they took turns, as planned, and one-by-one they helped Romes get to the top.
Romes did her part by encouraging the guys every step of the way, even making jokes with them as they went along. She said that motivating is more than important than the actual ability when achieving goals.
“I liked encouraging them. We shared so many laughs….Motivation is more important than ability in terms of achievement.”
The laughs were an added bonus for Richards, but it was Romes’ reaction, along with her infectious enthusiasm, that reached him the most.
“My favorite part was her reaction, [and] also seeing her enthusiasm.”
So, why did the guys decide to take on such a difficult venture? One reasons is due to the stereotype that so many fraternities carry along with them. According to Richards,
“We don’t want to be known for parties. We want to be known [for our] service.”
Romes also touched on how she felt once she reached the top. It’s an experience that she’ll likely remember the rest of her life.
“It was pretty cool; I’m not going to lie. You definitely get those warm fuzzies once you get to the top. I’ve been up the mountain a number of times. I’ve been up with my dogs; I’ve been up with girlfriends in the past. I’ve been up with my guys, but going up and taking someone who normally would never have been able to be up there — it’s work; it’s not necessarily easy — but it was a pretty great experience.”
The experience was so fulfilling for the boys that they’re already planning their next venture. Next time, the frat brothers take to carry a few of Romes’ friends, who also live with disabilities, to the top of Petit Jean Mountain, in Arkansas. The flat mountain top has an elevation of around 1,180 feet. During the trip, they plan to take Romes to the Petit Jean State Park’s waterfall and blue hole, and eventually, they’d like to take her to the Mount Magazine hiking trail.
Check out the video below to see a snippet of Romes and the frat boys in action.