Los Angeles

First Amputee Set to Graduate From OC Sheriff's Academy

Robert Ram lost his leg at 12 years old after a battle with cancer, but he never lost his dream of becoming a sheriff's deputy.

Now 20, Ram will graduate from the Orange County Sheriff's Department Correctional Services Assistant (CSA) Academy on Oct. 29, making him the first amputee to graduate from an Orange County Sheriff's Academy class.

"This is definitely a great start [for Ram]," said Orange County Deputy Sheriff William Griffin. "He's shown such great aspirations in this that I think he won't have any issues making it through the deputy academy."

Since losing his leg at the end of seventh grade, Ram has set goals for himself to overcome what some might consider the end of their active life.

He set a goal when he first lost his leg -- walk back to school for the first day of eighth grade.

"When I went to physical therapy that's the one thing I would think of," he said. "And I was able to do that."

Before his diagnosis and amputation, he was an all-star baseball player. Because of his hard work and dedication, Ram returned to play multiple sports in high school, including four years of water polo, three years of swimming, and one year of wrestling.

He shared his experiences as a volunteer at the Children's Hospital of Orange County, speaking to young patients who were dealing with amputations.

"There's nothing to be ashamed of because you look different or you might feel different," he told them. "You've got to find it in yourself more than anything."

Ram hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father, Ravi, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy. When Robert told his father about his dream to become a deputy, Ravi was worried that his son wouldn't be able to keep up with the physical demands of the job.

"He went on a couple ride-alongs with a couple of buddies of mine, and he was hooked," his father said. "He came home and I saw that look in his eyes that I had when I was his age, and he said, 'Dad, this is what I want to do for a living.'"

The elder Ram supported his son's dream, and told him to apply just like everyone else. Since being accepted to the CSA, Robert has quieted his father's concerns about his physical abilities.

"He's running with everybody else. He's doing pushups with everybody else," Ravi said, after watching his son with the rest of his class. "Before the academy started, we did a couple of burpees and situps to see how he could do it with his prosthetic, and he beat me every single time."

Robert still needs to wait until he's 21 to become a deputy, but he's already made a great first impression.

"He's definitely opened the door for other people," Griffin said. "He's just shown that ... if you have the drive and the will to make it, you can make it through this academy."

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