With his mother losing her fight against cancer just weeks before graduation, Dalton Jackson decided to put on his graduation cap and dress a little early so his mother could be part of the big day.
Stephanie Northcott from Memphis, Tennessee, was admitted to Baptist East Hospital East in late April when her health deteriorated. When Dalton graduated from Halls High School on May 18, Stephanie told her loved ones that she wanted to beat her cancer long enough to see her son graduated.
"Two years ago, she learned about her terminal cancer." Julie Northcott, a close friend of Stephanie's, tells PEOPLE. "Her only wish was that she would live long enough to graduate."
But as the days passed, doctors told the family that they were not sure if Stephanie would survive any longer, and that's Dalton's family, friends and co-workers from his school ̵
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" When she came to the hospital and we found out she would not leave the hospital ", says Julie, "we're with the headmistress and [the ceremony] brought her to the hospital band.
Two weeks before Dalton wanted to go on stage, friends and relatives joined Stephanie to experience the special moment.
"My baby is graduating," Stephanie could tell in a video by Julie from the intimate film hear ceremony.
As "Pomp and Circumstan" As he played, Dalton entered the chapel and wore his cap and gown, joined by some of his football teammates and other friends who dressed for the occasion.
"You can do anything you ever do, "Stephanie said in the video just before Dalton graduated," Never forget that. "
Hall of Fame's director, Suzanne Keefe, received Dalton's At the conclusion of the ceremony Dalton danced with his mother to the Rascal Flatts tune: "I will not let go."
"I hope it will inspire other families, who are experiencing a similar crisis, "says Julie, sharing the story of Dalton and Stephanie.
Stephanie suffers from Lynch syndrome – a condition that causes patients to be at greater risk of developing certain cancers and, in their case, rare end-stage cancers. Tragically, it's the same illness that killed her daughter Amber, says friend Julie.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the Lynch syndrome is hereditary, and if one parent carries the gene mutation, there is a 50 percent chance of being passed on to each child. Frequent cancer screening and preventive surgery can help reduce the risk of cancer in patients with Lynch syndrome and a daily dose of aspirin has been shown to help.
Upon graduation, Dalton hopes to study in Mississippi CNN reports. Julie – who is married to Stephanie's ex-husband so they have a surname – says the family is trying to raise money to help with funeral expenses. Donations can be made on their PayPal page.