A high school student was determined for her terminally ill mother to see her graduate. In the end, she made her mom’s final wish come true!
Elizabeth De Leon, mom to 18-year-old Cassidy, had been diagnosed with colon cancer back in April 2014. Over time, the mom became much worse. There were no guarantees that she’d be able to make it to Cassidy’s graduation on June 21.
So Cassidy’s older brother, Richard Pagan, came up with a brilliant plan. He reached out to Cassidy’s principal at Washingtonville High School in New York, asking him to award Cassidy her diploma down at the hospital where Elizabeth was being treated. Cassidy’s principal, Brian Connolly, happily obliged.
So, on Memorial Day, Cassidy got decked out in her cap and gown, and family and friends met at the hospital to watch the teen receive her diploma. Of course, the proudest one there was her mom! “She was in and out of consciousness throughout her whole hospital stay. Once the graduation happened, her eyes were open and she gave me a small little smile,” Cassidy said to Inside Edition. “It was really emotional. I was happy and very sad.”
Watch the beautiful moment below…
Sadly, Elizabeth passed away the very next morning. However, for Cassidy, she finds peace in knowing that her mom got to see her finish this stage in her life. “All I wanted to do was show my mom that I was going to be okay, and I finished school, and I am going to go to college,” Cassidy revealed. “She was the most amazing woman I will ever know.” So touching!
A Philly photographer uses his passion of photography to take free graduation pics for kids who can’t afford them!
Last year around this time, Philly photographer Richard Wah saw a few high school graduates on the bus, rocking their caps and gowns. Even though it was their special day, no one else was around to support them.
It sparked an idea for Richard: he would take free graduation photos for any student in Philly that couldn’t afford them. Last year, only two took him up on his offer. However, a Facebook post the photographer shared about the offer just this Monday has gotten over 16,000 shares and close to 20,000 likes. Now, he has 12 kids lined up for free pics this year!
Richard even has a team of four barbers and three makeup artists to have the kids looking amazing for the photos! “They’re memories; they’re priceless,” he said to Philly Voice. For Richard, not being able to afford pictures to celebrate this special day is something he knows all too well. He didn’t have graduation pics himself because of it. Now that he’s made a career out of photography, he’s able to give back to the youth of his city using his gift! “I don’t know who they are or what their stories are. I just want them to know somebody’s there,” Richard added.
Richard is also accepting clothing donations for graduates to get their pictures taken in.
Graduation pics can definitely hit your pockets hard, but it’s nice for families to have those memories to look back on. Glad that he is using his talent to help these kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to swing it!