CaringBridge Update: Tue, May 31
Hi everyone -
Anna has GRADUATED!!! The class of 2011 of John Paul II High School graduated Sunday afternoon! Anna was determined to be there and deserved every second of her long standing ovation!!! I know of no one with more determination, poise and perseverance than sweet Anna!
Several of Anna’s friends helped make her attendance at graduation possible! Hailey Drescher, Anna’s teacher, mentor and friend helped with all the details of the ceremony. Hailey took care of Anna and Anna’s entourage (25 of us!) Hailey was by Anna’s side for the afternoon (picture above). Our family is so grateful for her presence in our lives.
Katherine and Maggie helped Anna ahead of time with her dress and make-up. They even risked arriving late to stay and help Anna.
As we arrived at school we were met in the hall by a group including the school president, our bishop and several priests. Anna received several blessings and then she and Hailey lined up. The JPII community continued their amazing support through graduation, as ramps were built on the side of the stage just for Anna’s wheelchair.
We were so grateful for our family with us that day – some driving from as far as Illinois and Georgia. It was a special afternoon and weekend for many reasons.
Anna and Maggie had special plans for graduation night. Something Anna had been looking forward to for months – a concert with Anna’s favorite band, Manchester Orchestra. Maggie gave Anna a beautiful gift – “the best night of her life”. Maggie had corresponded with the band manager and made some special arrangements for Anna. The band was waiting for her at the Palladium Ballroom when she and Maggie arrived. She was escorted in the back door, stayed on stage with them for their entire set, was serenaded with a special song just for her, and afterward spent time with the band. She came home with her arms full of autographed items and full of excitement! Maggie is a VERY SPECIAL friend and y’all need to check out Manchester Orchestra! The band leader told Anna – “you inspire us. This is why we do what we do.” Love them.
Anna’s friend Zach contacted the band Modest Mouse. He sent the video he’d made for Anna using their song “Float On”. The lead singer wrote Anna a six page letter, sent pictures, CDs, T-shirts and autographs. Another very special gift from a great friend.
Our entire family feels so loved and supported. We are so grateful for our friends and family who care for us unceasingly. Cancer is awful. Anna’s body is suffering. But cancer cannot touch her beautiful soul, her creative, open mind, or her enormous heart. She is a beautiful girl who is so, so loved.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8