Student overcomes obstacles on ‘Wheels’

The belief, any obstacle is conquerable and manageable no matter the circumstance, is one that embodies sophomore Andrew Toropiw daily life.

As an accounting student at Seton Hall and a brother of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, Toropiw may come across on paper as an average college student. But unlike any other student, the obstacle he has overcome allows Toropiw to live in his own unique style.

Diagnosed with the disease muscular dystrophy, Toropiw was told at a young age he would lose his ability to walk. His complication eats away at his muscle tissue causing his legs to be weaker than they should be, which permanently confines him to a wheelchair.

When Toropiw was first placed into his wheelchair, he said it took a while for him to get used to the experience.

“Originally many people would constantly stare and just make simple jokes,” Toropiw said. “At first it would bother me but it was just something that I had to get used to. Today the people in my life do not look at me any differently for being in a wheelchair.

My friends and family will help out with anything and they will do anything to make my life that much easier. It does take time for people to get used to this, but overall everyone is fine with it in the long run.”

The choice to join a fraternity was a big task for Toropiw, as it is for any other student, but he said it was one of the best choices he has made since coming to Seton Hall.

“There is a good group of guys who are very reliable and everyone looks out for each other,” Toropiw said. “The fraternity aspect gives me many opportunities that I would not have had and makes the college experience that much better. All of the guys treat me the same and there is nothing that they limit me on.”

His friends and family do not look upon him differently for his handicap and neither do his fraternity brothers. His brothers nicknamed Toropiw “Wheels.”

Toropiw said he feels that the best way he can overcome the obstacles he faces is to just surround himself with good people.

He overcomes hardships dealing with his situation naturally and can do anything if he strives for it.

Justin Beebe can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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