The road to their high school graduation day might have been difficult, but these two best friends with special needs defied the odds. When Odin Frost and Jordan Granberry were born, they were both given very low survival rates due to brain damage.
Some doctors thought they wouldn’t live very long, and if ever they did, they would be in a vegetative state. But the mighty duo proved them all wrong, and recently, the two 18-year-olds received their high school diplomas together!
Odin and Jordan first met at Wayne D. Boshears Center for Exceptional Programs when they were three years old. Their parents saved a photo of them sitting close together during the first week of school. According to Tim Frost, Odin’s dad, the two quickly got along during their initial meeting.
“Their very first day of school, they were put in the same classroom,” he told CBS News. “They pretty much had this immediate bond. Neither one of them could speak, but wherever the other one was, they were always together.”
His wife’s pregnancy with Odin wasn’t easy. She had preeclampsia at the time, and doctors had to induce labor. When he came out, Tim said the baby was “barely breathing.” They airlifted the newborn to a NICU in Dallas, where he stayed for two weeks.
“Weirdly, we later found out that was the same NICU where Jordan was about two weeks before,” Tim recalled.
Odin didn’t get enough oxygen to his brain, and it caused damage. The family spent the next three years going to different doctors and different specialists, but they only had one thing to say – their baby only had a two percent survival rate. Even if he survived, he would be in a “vegetative state.”
Jordan had the same fate as Odin, not getting enough oxygen to his brain, which also caused damage. Tim said Jordan’s mother, Donna, was told that her son might not reach age 7. So when these two sets of parents met each other at their kids’ school, their commonalities brought them close together.
After undergoing therapy, Odin began walking with braces on his legs. At four years old, a miracle happened – the boy surprised his parents by getting out of bed on his own and walking around the house. Tim said they were “bawling, crying” because they were told he would never do that.
Odin was getting better at walking, but his best friend Jordan hadn’t reached that milestone yet. Despite this difference, their friendship remained the same.
“When my son started walking and Jordan didn’t, they had this connection still. My son would try to stand up and push Jordan’s wheelchair and stand beside him at all times and sort of defended him,” Tim said. “They had a cool little non-verbal communication.”
The boys also bonded by playing music at school. Although they weren’t always in the same class, Odin and Jordan would still see each other. Donna, who is a hairstylist experienced in cutting hair and special needs children, has cut Odin’s hair since he was little. Tim said it became a thing they did once a month.
“We’d all hang out and get our hair cut together,” he said.
After 15 years of friendship, it was finally time for Odin and Jordan to receive their high school diplomas. Both their parents were doubtful about attending the graduation day ceremony because of COVID-19. However, after seeing that the ceremony would be small and that the school was taking precautions, Tim decided they should be there for the once-in-a-lifetime event. When Donna heard that Odin would be attending, she decided Jordan should be there too.
On July 16, the two boys crossed the stage to claim their diplomas. While every graduation day is special, it meant so much more for both Odin and Jordan and their families. The two boys defied the odds and proved that despite their condition, they are able individuals.
“It’s something we thought would never happen. We didn’t think he was going to live…now he’s walking the stage and graduated,” Tim said.
Tim never graduated himself, so when asked if he wanted to walk with his son, he grabbed the opportunity. As they walked, Odin gripped his hand, and his dad felt the “excitement in him.”
“My son and his best friend, both told their survival rate would be around 2%, never walk, and live in a vegetative state if they made it past 7 years, both walked the stage and graduated tonight!!! (Left pic is from the first day of school. The right is from graduation this evening)” This was the caption the father wrote when he posted the photo on Reddit.
The best friends took a photo together at the graduation day ceremony, and it happened to look like the one they took when they first met. After posting the images side-by-side on Reddit, Tim received an overwhelming amount of support from people online. When he saw how many comments it got, he was afraid he would see negative responses. But that wasn’t the case at all.
“But seeing all of this positivity — I started crying. I was like, ‘There’s no way. There’s thousands of comments and they’re so positive.'” he said.
So what’s next for these two achievers? The Wayne D. Boshears Center for Exceptional Programs offers schooling for people with special needs up to age 21, and Odin and Jordan are planning to attend.
What an inspirational story! Aside from doing what they were told was impossible, Odin and Jordan have kept their friendship tight over the years -and that’s something we all aspire to have with our own friends.