REDFORD, Mich. (FOX 2) - There was a time Emmanuel Franklin couldn't get out of bed, let alone do a jumping jack.
"It has been really tough. I can't really put into words, it's just been painful," he says. It all started when he was 9 years old.
"He comes to me one day and says, 'Mommy my body is hurting really badly," says Enomwoyi Franklin. She figured it was the flu but the symptoms never went away. Doctor after doctor couldn't diagnose what was causing his chronic pain.
"His pain situation progressively got worse to where he couldn't even walk anymore. He started crawling on the ground and then eventually became bedridden," Enomwoyi says. Emmanuel could no longer attend school.
His mother quit her job as a math teacher in Detroit to care for him full time. She soon enrolled him in the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy, and it wasn't until a teacher there referred them to a holistic doctor that they started to figure out what was going on.
"I knew his situation was dire because I remember one time I'd asked him, 'Emmanuel?' - and his quiet spirit doesn't complain - I said, 'Emmanuel, would you rather die then be in this pain?' and he was just like, 'Yes mommy, I'm hurtin' so bad.'"
Enomwoyi says several tests revealed Emmanuel had neuro immune disease. Doctors told them the high doses of steroids Emmanuel was taking for his asthma severely damaged his neurological and immune system, which caused the excrutiating pain.
Emmanuel continued to work hard, attending his virtual school from his bed and missing the life he use to have. But he never gave up.
"Back then that was one of the main reasons I wanted to go back so I could have friends but like, I kind of grew out of it. I realized that staying alive is more important than having friends and all that," he says.
With the help of natural supplements and oxygen treatments Emmanuel began to improve. Michigan Virtual Charter Academy also provided a physical therapist that would help the teen go from a wheelchair to a walker, to walking with a cane - and to now walking without assistance to receive his high school diploma.
"It's going to be amazing. It's going to be great," he says.
"He did it and I just, I'm in awe. I'm just in awe; I have no words to describe, you know, how grateful I am and how Emmanuel has persevered," Enomwoyi says.
As he sits there, Emmanuel is still in pain but he's looking forward to the future. He'll graduate in June and one day he hopes to live an active life once again.
If you'd like to help Emmanuel and his family out with a donation for his natural treatment, which isn't covered by his family's insurance, you can do so via their GoFundMe account here.