NAPA (CBS SF) — A teenage boy who was nearly crushed to death under a collapse chimney during last year’s 6.0-magnitude Napa earthquake is making huge strides after doctors told him he would have a tough time walking again.

14-year-old Nick Dillon was among the speakers Monday at a ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of the quake.

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“People don’t recognize my name but they recognize who I am,” said Nick. “And then they’ll call me, ‘hey, you’re the earthquake boy, the chimney boy.’ And I’m like, ‘yeah, that’s me.’”

The South Napa earthquake was the largest in the Bay Area since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, killing one person and injuring about 200 others.

When it struck at 3:20 a.m. last August 24th, Nick was having a sleepover with friends. He was on the living room floor when the brick chimney crashed right on top of him. He was critically injured.

A collapsed chimney which critically injured 13-year-old  Nick Dillon during the 2014 South Napa earthquake. (Carmen Rosales)

A collapsed chimney which critically injured 13-year-old Nick Dillon during the 2014 South Napa earthquake. (Carmen Rosales)

“I thought I was paralyzed,” he said. “I lost all feeling in my left and right leg. And for a second I really thought I was going to die.”

Nick spent 11 days in 3 hospitals. While he was hospitalized he suffered another painful blow: his father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. He died a few months later.

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“Throughout this whole process, I think losing my Dad … probably was a major loss for me and my brother and my family,” he said.

Doctors said it would take Nick six months to walk again. It took him three, along with three surgeries on his crushed pelvis.

A year later, the high school sophomore says life is getting back to normal. He’s a straight-A student. He runs and lifts weights … and more.

“I love to dance,” said Nick. “That’s a secret hobby of mine … when Mom sees me dancing, she’s like, ‘Nick, I’m pretty sure the doctors loosened your hips.’”

The earthquake, his injuries, and the loss of his father have all changed Nick’s outlook on life.

“I think I’ve matured a lot. I look at life a lot better than I did before,” said Nick. “I just remind myself how lucky I am to be alive and how blessed I am to live in this beautiful community.

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“An earthquake can happen to you tomorrow … and that would be the last day you ever lived. Life is short. So just try being positive. It really makes a difference.”