Darlene Sugg, who had been battling cancer for four years, was determined to see her daughter, Megan, graduate. But as her condition worsened and became terminal, her goal seemed impossible. So, the Maryland school brought the graduation to her.
Sugg was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2010, NBC News reported. The disease went into remission but recently spread to her lungs, liver and spine. She was sent to a hospice in April. On Thursday, May 8, Glen Burnie High School administrators planned a private ceremony for Megan to graduate beside her mother a month before the rest of her senior class.
“I couldn’t believe they would do that for my mother and for my sister. It was magical,” Sugg's son, Steven, told the Capital Gazette of the special moment. “My mom actually opened her eyes up.”
Photos from the heartbreaking ceremony reached the Internet. A teary-eyed Megan could be seen at her mother's bedside, clutching her hand.
The experience was a powerful and emotional one.
"She was hanging on to see my proud moment," Megan told NBC News. "She knew it meant a lot."
School counselor Kristin Canevazzi said this is the first time such an event has been held for a terminally parent of a Glen Burnie High School student. Similar ceremonies have been held for terminally ill students, however.
“I know how proud her mom is of her and we really wanted to give her family a special time,” Canevazzi told the Capital Gazette, adding: “Overall it was really sad, but a precious moment that I felt grateful to be part of and one that I hope Megan and her family will remember forever."
Sugg died on Saturday.