"We are gathered here today to honor the wish of a father to see his son, that he dearly loves, complete a milestone in his life," said the school principal
A Tennessee high school community came together to help grant a dying father's special wish: to see his son graduate.
Although Ewan Deane is only a junior at Jellico High School, he took part in a special graduation ceremony last week because his father, Leon, has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and had been told he only has a few months to live, according to Today and CBS affiliate WVLT.
In January, the 50-year-old received his diagnosis. "It was already in stage 4 when they found it," Leon told Today. "It’s been rough, mentally it’s hard to deal with."
Ewan, who is currently homeschooled to spend more time with his father, told WVLT that he promised his father that he would graduate.
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In order to make sure Leon was able to see the special moment, his wife Martha asked if Ewan's school could hold an early graduation ceremony for him.
After a friend made the call, the next day the school said, "We'll do it tomorrow," per Today.
According to a live-streamed video of the ceremony shared on Facebook, the audience at the ceremony on Aug. 30 was packed, including Leon and his family, who sat in the front row.
"Today is the day that the Jellico High School and all the communities that represent our school come together to support a student and family in a solemn season of life," principal Joey St. John said during the ceremony. "To be straightforward with everyone in this room, we are gathered here today to honor the wish of a father to see his son, that he dearly loves, complete a milestone in his life."
While Leon hopes to see his son graduate in May 2025, St. John added that they pushed "forward in time" and allowed his father's "physical body to see today what his heart sees in the future."
That day, Ewan took the stage and became an honorary graduate of the class of 2025.
"I’m about as proud as I can be," Leon told WVLT of watching his son graduate.
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