JD was diagnosed in 2016 with a neuroendocrine tumor. At the time, he was 28 years old and working at TCU. Since diagnosis, he has become a well-loved patient on the Adolescent and Young Adult Unit at Baylor All Saints, due to frequent admissions for symptom management. In the process of getting to know him, the nurses have found out about his love of music, history, and his dog. For 3 years, he has made the nurses on the AYA unit laugh and smile with his unique sense of humor and dry sarcasm.
When he got word in October of this year that he was going to be given an honorary graduation diploma from TCU, he was elated! This was something he has been working towards for quite some time. He invited the friends he never expected to have (some of his nurses) to come to see him walk. It was going to be a proud, long-awaited day. Unfortunately, JD’s health declined and his family was worried he would be too weak to walk across the stage at the end of December. During an admission in the middle of November, the AYA nurse navigator prompted his mother with the question “Do we need to make this happen sooner?” After a couple of days of processing the situation and talking to JD when she could, his mom gave the go-ahead to initiate the plans. In true Fort Worth collaborative fashion, the AYA nurse navigator reached out to a contact at TCU, who went above and beyond, to ensure JD would have his graduation day.
The celebration took place at Baylor All Saints in the corporate boardroom. The ceremony mirrored an actual TCU ceremony; complete with TCU faculty, that lead the commencement and formalized the proceedings with an invocation, remarks, a benediction, and singing of the TCU alma mater. Over 30 friends, family members, and staff witnessed the event and were able to congratulate him on his accomplishment at a short reception. The patient and his family are very grateful for the memories they were able to create that day. JD is now proud to be a college graduate.