Teen cancer patient passes away after fulfilling dream of receiving his diploma
BATON ROUGE, La. - It was a final dying wish, a wish 17-year-old Jerome Singleton's family is deeply grateful the teen was able to fulfill.
While many kids his age were gearing up for high school graduation and looking forward to what lies ahead and all of the possibilities the future holds, the Louisiana teen and his family were faced with the crushing reality that treatment options had run out in his battle with an aggressive and rare childhood cancer known as Rhabdomyosarcoma or RMS.
"... his family received the devastating news that the treatments did not work and the aggressive cancer has now spread throughout his body... Hospice has been called in and family and friends are fervently praying," according to a GoFundMe page set up by family spokeswoman Lakisha Harris on May 17.
Despite the hopelessness of the news they received, Jerome did not give up hope on his one goal: to get his diploma.
As family members grappled with the thought of life without Jerome, they did their best to keep their sights on making his final days the best possible.
"His family is now rushed to try to find light in this dark situation so that his last days can somehow be good days," it said on the GoFundMe page.
But as graduation was still days away and Jerome grew increasingly weaker, family members were concerned that the teen would not live long enough to live out his dream.
So Jerome's school stepped in to help in that effort to "find light" during the family's darkest days.
Last Wednesday, Scottlandville High School presented the teen with a diploma during a special early graduation ceremony held at Jerome's home, where he was receiving hospice care.
All of those in attendance were those who played an important role in Jerome's life and stood by him during his treatment, which in all included 47 rounds of chemotherapy, according to the GoFundMe page.
Family, friends, nurses, and Scottlandville's high school principal were on hand to watch Jerome, too weak to stand, dressed in cap and gown, receive his diploma and officially become a high school graduate.
They gathered around him and sang his favorite song, "Oh Happy Day."
"He was weak, but he was happy that day!" said Harris.
Even after the special ceremony, Jerome held out hope that he would be able to graduate alongside his classmates on Tuesday, when the school is set to hold its commencement ceremony for the Class of 2017.
The family let him believe he would be able join his classmates, even though they knew it was very unlikely and that the end was near, according to Harris.
On Sunday afternoon, Jerome passed away.
His last breaths were taken holding his 16-year-old sister's hand.
If you would like to assist Jerome's family with medical and burial costs you can visit Jerome's Go Fund Me page here.