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Father with Terminal Cancer Sees Son Graduate Months Early To Fulfill Dying Wish

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There are proud moments in every parent’s life that they don’t want to miss. First steps, first words and first days of school are all special, but so are graduations and weddings.

Most families assume that parents and kids will be together for these major milestones, and for many families, that’s a safe assumption to make.

But some aren’t about to take celebrating these momentous occasions for granted. Nick Hughes and his wife, Kami, are two of those parents.

Their son Joshua was almost done with high school and then he and Nick had big plans: The two were going to set out to the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Florida, a great father-and-son experience.

But last year, life threw a wrench in the works when Nick found out he had colon cancer. They tried treatment, but the cancer was advanced and it became clear that it was time for Nick to enter hospice care at Wren Hospice.

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As Nick’s condition progressed, it looked less and less like he’d be able to see his son graduate, let alone start his career.

Fortunately they were in good hands, as Jaime Hester of Wren Hospice knew what would bring joy to Nick in the time he had left. Kami got in on the planning and helped set up a graduation ceremony for Joshua, so Nick would get to see him graduate.

“We are having a pre graduation for Josh Vaughn and Nick Hughes,” Kami wrote on Facebook on October 8. “Hospice has set it up all is welcome. It’s gonna be at 1002 S. Buncombe Rd. Greer SC 29651. Please come join us. Tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.”

“P. S. Nick doesn’t know anything about it yet so please don’t say nothing to him. It’s a surprise!!”

Kami told Nick that they were going out to dinner, but when they pulled up to Pleasant Grove Baptist church, Nick was probably wondering what was really happening.

“I think I barely got to my seat before I learned what was going on,” Nick told WLTX 19.

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Other supporters lined the pews as well, and some of Joshua’s classmates helped escort the graduate down the aisle. Photos from the event show a tearful Nick clapping, unable to hold back his emotions.

After the successful event, Nick or Kami (or both) took to their joint Facebook page with a post of gratitude.

“I would love to give a big thanks to all the wonderful kind hearted people who made yesterday happen.” they wrote on October 10. “And those who (were) able to join us in our celebration!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH! You all have a special place in our hearts!!”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking