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(NEW YORK) — A North Carolina Marine got a shocking welcome home from his son, who suffers from cerebral palsy. The young boy walked to his father on his own for the first time.

When Staff Sgt. Jeremy Cooney was deployed, his 6-year-old son could not walk. What he didn’t know was that the boy learned to walk while his father was serving in Afghanistan.

The heartwarming video was posted by Cooney’s wife Melissa Cooney on WelcomeHomeBlog.com, a website for videos of surprise military homecomings.

“When my husband left on his deployment, our 6-year-old son could not walk on his own,” Melissa Cooney wrote on the site.  “He has cerebral palsy. Doctors originally said that he would never walk or do much of anything. While daddy was away, he learned to walk. For his homecoming, we set it up for Michael to walk to his daddy for the first time ever! We kept the fact that he could walk a secret the whole time his dad was gone!”

The family could not be reached to comment. Cerebral palsy is a brain disorder that causes physical and mental disabilities.

In the video, Sgt. Cooney crouches down and watches in amazement as his son walks toward him when they see each other in a gym at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune. When the boy gets within arm’s reach, Cooney scoops him up in his arms and the two share a long hug.

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