Son plans special graduation ceremony for ailing father

HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - One man's gift to his ailing father was a special graduation ceremony in the family living room and it was an evening that won't soon be forgotten.

Brad McMorris pointed out pictures of his father, Ron, displayed in the hallway of the family's home. One picture shows Ron in a tuxedo on his graduation day from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1973. Brad added he knew he had to do everything he could to make sure his dad could see him receive his diploma from Southeastern as well.

"He has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia and I knew he wasn't going to make it to my graduation and he had seen my older sister and my older brother graduate and I knew it was very important to him," said McMorris.

Brad decided to bring his commencement to his father and contacted Dr. John Crain, Southeastern's president, and convinced him to pay a visit to Ron's home in Colyell for a ceremony.

"In this particular case, I think it just resonated with me," said Crain. "It just seemed like it was a student that was really trying to do something special for his dad."

Weak from stem cell transplant therapy and countless medications, Ron still managed to pose for pictures during the ceremony, which also included Brad's brother and sister, also Southeastern graduates.

"When he came inside, if you would have seen my dad's face," said Brad.

"It was a surprise and it was amazing to see his face light up," added Angie Corbett, Brad's sister.

Southeastern's Fall Commencement at the University Center averages between 1,200 to 1,300 students a ceremony, but for Brad and his family, the idea of his father being able to see his graduation first-hand made the alternative scenario a dream come true.

"Just to be honest, I wasn't even sure if he would be here to graduate and it was the most, like I said, the most important thing for him was for me to graduate and for him to be able to see me get my diploma, really meant everything," said Brad.

"Dad was very happy, excited and proud. He spoke to Dr. Crain about his years at Southeastern himself when he went, just a very proud moment for him," added Corbett.

It was a moment Brad said will remain a part of his family for generations to come.

"We've seen him all our life say school is important you need to get through school and educate yourself and that is always what he's wanted," said McMorris.

Brad said his father had to travel to Houston Sunday with his mother to continue treatment for his leukemia.

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