Jennifer Pierce, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Patients at a local hospital don't have to go far to find healing inspiration. Their teacher is a 20-year-old Oklahoma man who has endured a lifetime of obstacles, but it's his determination that is a lesson for us all.

He's the picture of drive and persistence. There's very little Shad Issac can't do.

"Adult basketball, wheelchair racing, I used to do swimming, I do archery, kayaking and rock climbing," Issac said.

And at one time doctors had little hope Issac would ever lead an active life. He was born with birth defects and underwent several spinal surgeries.

"They said I would never walk or run or be active, and when I heard that it really tore me down and I'm thinking, 'No, that's not true; I can walk. I will just really have to work at it,'" Issac said.

And he did. Issac can walk, but is primarily in a wheelchair. Now at 20, Issac is part of Project SEARCH, a job-skills program for adults with disabilities.

As part of the program, he's interning at Mercy Hospital. He spends his days at a place that is very close to his heart.

Shad chose to intern at Mercy's physical therapy services because of the many years he spent on machines that they use in therapy.

He doesn't treat patients, but has his own type of therapy.

"I cheer them up, I encourage them to say you can do anything in this world if you put your mind to it," Issac said.

Those are the same words that got him through years of physical therapy. He admits it wasn't easy at times.

"It was really hard and really painful," Issac said.

But one person helped him through those tough times.

"He always had the most amazing sense of humor and kept everyone laughing," Issac's physical therapist Kay Davis said.

Davis was Issac's physical therapist for most of his childhood. Even though she hasn't seen him in almost a decade she always knew he would overcome his disability.

"You just tell Shad that he can't do something and he's just more determined to do it," Davis said.

And now he's touching people in similar situations by just being himself.

After the internship Issac and the other Project SEARCH students will search for full-time jobs. It's no surprise that Issac wants to work at Mercy Hospital in physical therapy.