School Holds Early Graduation Ceremony So Dying Mom Could See Her Daughter Graduate

Make sure you have a box of tissues nearby for this one.

graduationYuttana Jaowattana/ShutterstockBack in January of 2017, when Montana mom Carol Grant was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, she knew the prognosis wasn’t good. But when things took a turn for the worse, she figured there was little chance she would make her daughter’s high school graduation.

In April, Grant was moved to hospice. Because they couldn’t do anything more for her, doctors took her off all treatment except pain medication, according to her YouCaring crowdfunding page.

Grant’s 17-year-old daughter, Kelsey, will be Terry High School’s class of 2017 valedictorian. The ceremony is set for May 20, but Grant is afraid she won’t be around long enough to attend.

When two community members, Michelle Wolff and Mary Elizabeth Grue, heard about Grant’s prognosis, their hearts broke. “I’m addicted to Hallmark movies,” Grue tells The Billings Gazette. “I said, ‘It’s too bad a Hallmark movie couldn’t be pulled off here.'” But then the friends realized there could be a way to give Grant a movie moment.

Wolff surprised Grant with a mock graduation on April 25, about a month before the full ceremony would take place, according to Inside Edition. Other than its location in the Prairie Community Hospital dining hall, the ceremony was just like any other graduation. There were guest speakers and speeches—including one by Kelsey—plus a banner, flowers, and cake donated by local businesses. All five of the school’s graduating seniors attended and gave Grant a rose. “Kelsey held it together pretty well,” Wolff tells Inside Edition. “When she was giving her mom a hug with the rose, it was very emotional.”

Grant’s husband, Terry, told Inside Edition that she “wasn’t all there because she’s on a lot of medication” but still seemed to enjoy the ceremony. “She clapped and was extremely excited,” he told Billings Gazette. Even though Grant is largely off medication, you can visit her YouCaring page to contribute toward funeral costs.

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.