Benton teen beats odds to graduate high school

It's a story we've been following for nearly two decades where a toddler beat the odds of living.

Thursday was a special night for 18-year-old Chris Graham from Benton and his family: high school graduation.

It is quite the special story, especially since doctors told Brett and Carla Graham that their newborn, Chris, wouldn't be able to overcome a heart defect.

Specialists only gave him only six months at most to live.

"I just thank the Lord above for each day having Christopher in our family and in our lives because I believe that's why we still have him. He's got great plans for him," Carla Graham told Channel 7 back in 2000.

Great plans indeed, continuing from 1995, to Chris and his family gearing up for a special night.

"When Christopher was born they told us he would not live 48 hours, and here we are 18 years later, and he's going to be receiving his high school diploma tonight," Chris' mother added.

The road here hasn't been easily traveled for Graham, he fought back from congestive heart failure in 2000, but now he's on his way to college.

"It's just another stepping stone going over, and it really is a good day," Chris told us with a smile.

Graham has done everything but let his heart deficiency hold him back, reaching achievements like being an Arkansas Scholar four years running, and receiving an art scholarship to attend the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in the fall.

"The artwork mainly came out of, I can't do physical activities so let me work on something else I can do," Chris added. "So I would say 'Yes, it has a lot to do with me actually going into the art profession.'"

As Chris made strides across the stage to receive his diploma, he's not only doing it for himself and his family, but also those fighting similar odds.

"It's simply the will of can and can't, it's completely up to the person," he added.

Chris has a knack for animation and graphic design, his plan is to one day work for Pixar.