ESPN recently aired “Carry On: Why I Stayed”, a follow-up to its 2009 documentary “Carry On” featuring Cleveland-native high school wrestler’s Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton. In 2009 the sports network’s cameras followed both young men and chronicled their journey together as friends living with disabilities, overcoming obstacles and achieving goals they set out for themselves. For Dartanyon it was a league championship and for Leroy it was walking across stage to receive his high school diploma. In 2001 when Leroy was 11-years-old he was pulled beneath a train. Leroy survived the accident with amputations below the knee on his left leg and below the hip on his right. The strength and agility he developed through months of rehabilitation drew him to wrestling. When he transferred to Lincoln West High School in 2008, there was only one other person on the wrestling team strong enough to spar with him, Dartanyon. Dartanyon was born with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), an inherited form of vision loss. The two formed a brotherhood and in spite of the burden of ancillary obstacles (economics, attending a school with only a 40% graduation rate, non-accessible environments) each carried the other, both figuratively and literally to their goals.
After their story aired on August 2, 2009, former ESPN producer Lisa Fenn began receiving inquiries from viewers on how they could help Dartanyon and Leroy take the next step in their education. Fenn set up the Carry On for Education Trust and received $50,000 in less than a month, plus offers to finance tuition and living expenses for both throughout college. However, things weren’t so easy as Dartanyon and Leroy, now men, faced new challenges in pursuit of their goals. Although this time, they had Fenn in their corner.