In 2009, Ondelee Perteet got into an argument at a party in Chicago and was shot in the face. He was 14 years old.
He survived, but his recovery has been long and uncertain.
At StoryCorps, he sat down with his mother, Deetreena, who has been his caretaker since the shooting.
Click here for the transcript.
How did you feel when you saw me for the first time after the shooting?
Deetreena Perteet (DP): I got to the hospital, and the doctor came back, and he said, "We're sorry, but he's never going to move his arms and legs again." It just tore me apart.
OP: But you moved into the hospital with me—wouldn't let me stop. You're just a drill sergeant.
DP: Seeing you drive a wheelchair with your mouth, and having to change diapers off my 14 year old was difficult for me.
OP: I know it was hard for you to see your son like this, but I felt blessed to have my momma do this for me.
DP: Was there a moment when you wanted to give up?
OP: Yeah. At first I didn't see no progress. But now, I'm able to move my arms, my legs, it makes me feel good because you know I know that I worked hard.
DP: Sometimes I'm afraid that it might happen again. You don't hang out in the streets anymore, but I'm still always afraid whenever you're outside. I worry.
OP: I'm not really too scared that it will happen again because it gave me a second chance to make better decisions. You know, before I got shot, we wasn't really…we really didn't express our feelings to each other that much. We really didn't hang out that much. We didn't talk about everything like we do now, so it brought us closer.
DP: It's been a tremendous ride, and I'm glad we survived it. And I just want to say I love you kid with all my heart.