Deandre Jones was a typical 18 year old one day and in the hospital the next. He complained of a headache on the last day of school, so his teachers sent him home. Four days later, he had a seizure and was sent to surgery for a blood clot. Unfortunately, the procedure left him in a coma.
Deandre was just getting his life started. He had been a troubled youth who never took school seriously. Then last year, his Junior year, he turned it around. He didn’t have the credits to graduate, but he was determined to change that. He worked hard and made up for lost time. He was going to get the diploma he had taken for granted.
For Deandre’s family, it’s all surreal. Instead of watching their son walk in commencement ceremonies at Antioch High School, they are waiting for him to die.
Instead of letting their grief overwhelm them, they decided to carry out what they thought would be Deandre’s last wish. They threw him a graduation party. They decked him out in his cap and gown. They decorated the hospital room. His family, teachers, and hospital staff were on hand. Dr. Dickinson, who was treating Deandre, came to the party too. According to Dickinson, “He [Deandre] knew something really bad was going on. He remained polite, respectful of staff…It was an honor to let him graduate.”
Unless a miracle happens, Deandre will never know about the graduation party. For his family, it was the least they could do. They watched him work so hard and then saw it snatched away. Their hope is other young people will hear of how Deandre persevered and use his story as inspiration for their own lives.