HOUSTON - HOUSTON - A special graduation ceremony was held Friday for a Madison High School student at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Erick Reyes has been battling bone cancer for the past two years and was recently moved to hospice care.
Erick’s dream was to walk across the stage with his classmates in the spring. Instead, school officials brought the ceremony to him.
"It brings a lot of joy to my heart for being able to experience this day and see it come to pass," Erick said.
He traded his hospital gown for a cap and gown for the occasion.
He was surrounded by family members and hospital staff when he received his diploma from HISD Board President Wanda Adams. They played “Pomp and Circumstance” in the background.
“First and foremost, I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to keep fighting every day,” Erick said in an HISD blog. “Because of Him, I am still here celebrating a very special moment, not only with my friends and family but with my school, which I consider family as well.”
Erick’s parents and siblings were at his side on Friday, along with an aunt from Monterrey, Mexico.
He was on pace to graduate from Madison High School last year but in January of 2016, he got the devastating diagnosis.
He left school to get treatment and continued studying but had to stop because he got too sick.
Doctors even had to amputate his right leg.
"I was not able to eat, I felt weak because of all the chemo, radiation," Erick said.
He returned to Madison earlier this year with his cancer in remission.
Video shows Erick learning to walk on his prosthetic leg but eventually he was in and out of the hospital so much that he had to finish his studies at Texas Children's.
"I'm grateful. I'm thankful, you know," Erick said. "I feel a little bit kind of weak, but each and every day is a battle but I always feel like I'm winning."
His dad Rene couldn't be more proud.
"More than anything that students see his example and that it drives them even if they’re not sick and they see his example and his desire to get ahead and succeed," said Rene Reyes.
Erick says it's one goal down, and another to go.
"One of my goals is that I be able to fight this, overcome this," Erick said. "Maybe a miracle or something like that might happen in my life."
Doctors have told him there's not much they can do other than to keep him as comfortable as possible but it's clear the young man has no plans to stop fighting.
In fact, when he grows up, he wants to be a motivational speaker.
If you want to help this family with their medical bills, you can do so by donating on the GoFundMe page here.
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