Andrew Manning

Tale of tenacity—Eagle Scout has had long journey since Lakes Elementary

December 8, 2011 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Future Eagle Scout Andrew Manning, 17, a senior at Rockford High School, thought of his former elementary school when it was time for his last Boy Scout project. The strides he’s made in his career with the organization are nothing short of amazing, as few Scouts ever make it to Eagle Scout, the organization’s greatest honor. For Manning, the real march for success has been even more personal—a series of grueling surgeries and recoveries to correct defects in his feet he suffered from his whole life. Manning has had pain in his feet his whole life, but his family never knew the extent of the problem. He said he didn’t know if it was just natural growing pains and, having suffered from it his entire life, he didn’t realize it wasn’t normal. When he sprained his ankle in gym class and went to see a doctor about it, the extent of his problem became clear. “I went from doctor to doctor to specialist to surgeon,” Manning said. A problem with his bones had been the cause of his pain, and the doctors couldn’t believe he’d been walking with the condition his whole life, much less waterskiing and tubing. The diagnosis: major, complicated surgeries involving months of rehabilitation and keeping off his feet. Then, more surgeries on the other foot with the same pain and rehabilitation afterward. He had surgery on his right foot in March 2010 and the second nearly a year later—sooner than his doctors would have liked, but the timing took advantage of time off school to miss as little as possible. Manning is philosophical about it. “You wouldn’t ever choose to go through it,” he said. “But if you have to go through it, this was the best time of my life to do it. If I was older and found out about the problem, I wouldn’t be as young and strong to recover. If I had been younger, I would have had to have more surgeries because my bones wouldn’t have been close to their full size.” Teachers at Lakes Elementary School had called The Rockford Squire to do a story on Manning, not because of his surgeries, but because of the impressive project and his thoughtful nature. […]