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One More Milestone
Submitted by Maria Lorensen of Hospice of the Panhandle
Rebecca Greathouse wanted nothing more than to see her son Devan graduation from Hedgesville (WV) High School. Diagnosed earlier this year with pancreatic cancer, Rebecca was unsure if she would be able to see that dream come true come May. Her Hospice of the Panhandle team, led by the social work staff, worked diligently to make her dream a reality.
On March 22, Hospice hosted a graduation ceremony at our new education center. Devan received his diploma from his principal, Ron Lyons. A dozen of his friends, as well as faculty and staff from Hedgesville, and his proud mom, watched him turn the tassel and enter into a new phase of life.
Afterward, Devan, and his mom and friends were treated to a party, complete with a graduation cake and gifts, provided with funds donated by volunteers.
Devan and his mom were all smiles!
Rebecca died on 4/7/15 at her home. The thank you note sent by her sister, Trina, primary caregiver, was very touching. She was so appreciative of us helping to make Rebecca’s dream come true.
The following news article appeared in a local newspaper.
Reprinted with permission from The Journal.
Mother who suffers from pancreatic cancer sees son ‘graduate’
March 29, 2015
MARTINSBURG - It's a proud moment for a mother when her son walks across the stage on graduation day, diploma in hand and ready to take on the world.
And it was no different for Rebecca Greathouse, who watched along with friends, family members and even Hedgesville High officials as her son Devan took part in a high school graduation ceremony last weekend.
But there were some differences, because the event was held especially for Rebecca -who has pancreatic cancer and isn't sure what the future holds for her.
There were plenty of special moments for Hedgesville High senior Devan Greathouse and his mother, Rebecca Greathouse, after they were treated to a mock graduation ceremony and party. Since she has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, Rebecca said she can now face anything after having seen her son graduate.
Devan Greathouse gives his mother, Rebecca Greathouse, a big hug after he “graduated” from Hedgesville High School during a special ceremony held last Sunday in her honor.
Even though it was a "mock" ceremony, everything else was real, right down to Devan's having worn a cap and gown, as well as his having received a special graduation present, according to Rebecca, who found out in late January that she had this terminal form of cancer.
If anything, the uncertainty made things even more special, because time is so precious, she said.
"I really have been afraid that I wouldn't be around to watch him graduate - that I wouldn't be here long enough to watch him walk down the aisle," Rebecca said.
"That time together was a dream come true, because I really don't know if I will still be here when Devan graduates this spring. But if the Lord calls me now, I can go as a happy woman because of this special, special ceremony. It was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful day," Rebecca said.
"Devan has never had a bad school year and always done well, so his graduation really was something to celebrate. He thinks he wants to get a sports media degree, and that will work out well because he is an awesome writer. Anything he puts his heart towards, he can do," she said.
It was also touching that so many people supported this event, including her sister Trina Cole and Hospice of the Panhandle staff members - who also arranged for the ceremony to be held at the organization's new facility and invited others to take part in it, she said.
"Everyone made my dream come true," Rebecca said.
Devan said the festivities were "all about making my mom happy," even if it wasn't the real thing for him.
"It's been a long time since she smiled that much, so I know how much it meant to her," he said, adding that the two have always been close and nothing will ever change those feelings.
After having worked in the medical field, Rebecca said she was already familiar with hospice and supports the special work being done locally.
"I know it can be difficult, but hospice is about living - making the most of the time you have - rather than just about dying. I can't say enough good about them, and I hope others will want to find out more about hospice," she said.
Hospice social worker Victoria Leizear, who is also a mother and has seen her children graduate, said she'd never done anything like this before with a client - and was happy everything turned out so well.
"The Greathouse family is so special, and they deserve all the happiness in the world. I'm just glad it meant so much to them," Leizear said.
Since one of Devan's favorite teams is the New England Patriots, various hospice volunteers and the Bedington United Methodist Church donated money to purchase a Tom Brady football jersey for him as a graduation present.
Hedgesville High Principal Ron Lyons and some of Devan's teachers, as well as his friends were at the celebration.
- Staff writer Jenni Vincent can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 131.
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