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Wayne H.S. senior overcomes leukemia to graduate

Kimberly Mays fixes her son Matthew's cap and gown as he overcame leukemia to graduate from Wayne High School. (WCHS/WVAH)

Wayne High School held graduation ceremonies for its senior class Friday night. For one of the students his diploma comes with a little more work.

"It's not really set in," said Matthew Mays, a Wayne High School Senior. He says he never thought he'd ever wear a cap and gown to become a high school graduate. In May, 2011 as a 6th grader he was diagnosed with leukemia. He missed 7th grade and most of 8th grade and didn't think he would see high school.

"A lot of the kids in the hospital either stayed there for so long they never got to see their graduation or they died in the long run, so I was kind of iffy on the whole subject," said Matthew.

He says home schooling, tutoring and extra help from teachers got him to this point. "I've been in the hospital almost asleep working on homework or sitting with an I-V in and still have to do homework," said Matthew.

"His graduation day is my miracle that I've waited for," said Kimberly Mays, Matthew's mother. She says she never let herself think that Matthew would not overcome leukemia. She had to stay positive for him and the rest of the family. "Chemo makes him very nauseated. It made him very tired, so there were days he would come home from school and say I don't feel like doing homework but he would do it anyway. Sometimes I would sit down with him and we would work together," said Kimberly.

Now Matthew is getting ready to walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma. "It's an accomplishment for a normal person, but in a way yes it's a bigger accomplishment because I had to study a lot more than other people," said Matthew.

The lesson says Matthew, if he can overcome leukemia to become a high school graduate anybody can.

Matthew has been cancer free for two years and sees a doctor every three months. He wants to study to become an electrician.

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