Student with brain cancer granted dying wish to graduate high school
By Amanda Dukes
ORANGE COUNTY, Florida (WESH) -- A young man who has been battling brain cancer for almost a decade had one last wish: to graduate from Boone High School.
Thanks to hospice workers and school staff, Thursday his dream came true.
Abraham Maldonado was greeted by family, teachers and hospice workers who gathered at Boone High School to grant the teen his last and greatest wish.
"His last wish is that he wants to graduate a Boone Brave, and that was about 72 hours ago, and that is really our answer. Hands down, absolutely!” Boone High Principal Dusty Johns said.
Johns says Maldonado, who's been battling brain cancer for nine years, attended Boone up until two years ago when his illness forced him to transition to studying at home.
Hospice workers from Vitas Services recently learned about Abraham's dream of graduating from Boone, so they got to work reaching out to the school.
Maldonado is just a few credits shy of his degree, but he was given an honorary diploma in front of all those who have supported him on his journey.
"You have been a model student despite many many challenges, and we all marvel at what you've learned accomplished and shown us,” Elizabeth Theis, the principal of OCPS’s Hospital Homebound program, said.
Judging by Maldonado’s wide smile, the ceremony was what Maldonado and his parents dreamed of.
"He has been challenged and fighting with cancer for nine years, since first grade," Ramos Maldonado, his father, said. "He never missed any grade in this school, so we are happy that he completed the high school diploma today."
WESH 2 News asked Abraham Maldonado what he would like to share on his special day.
"Never give up,” Maldonado said.
Spoken by a true expert who, despite 18 surgeries and years of chemotherapy and radiation, never gave up on his dream of graduating a Boone Brave.
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