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Jamie Has Graduated from High School!

Posted Jun 03 2012 5:50pm
Big news here this weekend.  Our oldest son, Jamie, who has had ME/CFS since age 10 and who has been mostly incapacitated by his treatment for Lyme disease, bartonella, and babesia this past year, graduated from high school yesterday, with honors!  We are so proud of him!  He worked hard these past four years to earn excellent grades, in spite of usually missing about 35 days of school a year and close to 80 days his senior year, and he graduated as a member of the National Honor Society and with a President's Award for Academic Excellence (for having a GPA over 3.5 and high SAT scores).


But wait...there's more.  As we were sitting in the theater, waiting for the graduation ceremony to begin, my husband Ken urgently poked me in the arm and said, "Look!"  There, in the commencement program, alongside the lists of students winning the Academic Excellence Award and National Merit Scholarship Finalists, we read
2012 President's Award for Educational Achievement
(For achievement in academics or the arts for demonstrating unusual commitment to learning despite various obstacles)

James Daniel Jackson

We were stunned!  No one had told us Jamie had won this award (he didn't know either).  We just looked at each other with our mouths hanging open and both started to cry!  We showed my mother and her husband, sitting next to us, and they began to cry, too.  Then, close friends began stopping by our seats to congratulate us.  It was all so surreal.

This meant so much to Jamie and to us, that the teachers and staff at his school had recognized his hard work and commitment and how much he struggled against his challenges this year.  We fought many hard battles with certain members of the faculty this year, in order to get Jamie the accommodations he needed (and that were his legal right).  This award means that someone there gets it and knows what a challenge it all was for him.  We were so moved, and Jamie deserved this recognition.

Last night (after a long nap for me), we had a graduation party for Jamie, with our closest friends, many of whom have known Jamie since he was born, and a bunch of Jamie's friends.  It filled us with joy to share this celebration with the people closest to us, and to see Jamie enjoying this achievement just like any normal kid.  He was all smiles all night, with his friends gathered around the slideshow DVD I made him, running around in the yard playing ball and frisbee, and eating everything in sight (teenagers eat an amazing amount of food!).  Yes, we are all pretty exhausted today, but it was well worth it.  He is even planning to join his best friends for a few days in a road trip to the beach, as is tradition here in Delaware after graduation.

So, to all you parents out there, with similarly sick kids...there is hope.  There were many time this past year when we didn't think we'd make it to this milestone, but we did.  And there were plenty of times when it felt like we were fighting a losing battle with the school, but in the end they recognized Jamie's amazing achievement.  And, hopefully, if his condition continues to improve, he will join his peers in the freshman class at University of Delaware this fall...and if not, this fall, then perhaps the next semester.

There is hope.  For Jamie and for all of our kids who have suffered so much in their short lives and worked so hard to overcome their obstacles.  Please join us in celebrating this achievement that only you can fully understand!
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