On June 7th, Patricia Parrotte got her last wish—she witnessed her youngest child, Samantha, receive her high school diploma. For many, this might not seem like a big deal, but for Patricia, who goes by Patty, it meant the world. That’s because in November, 2016 Patty was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease.
Dorothy Donahue, Patty’s daughter and Samantha’s older sister, wrote in the description of a YouTube video of the graduation ceremony, that in September their mother seemed fine. “Then everything hit all at once, like a tidal wave, and the progression of her illness steadily declined over the next 6 months.” Patty underwent countless tests, chemotherapy, and a total mastectomy. She started going in and out of consciousness.
However, she was able to miraculously summon the power of a mother’s love to see her daughter graduate.
During the difficult months, Samantha’s father and Patty’s husband Todd noticed Samantha struggling in school. He offered her the option of taking some time off, but Samantha powered through.
In April 2017, the family was notified that the cancer had spread to Patty’s spine. Patty was getting sicker and sicker by the day, and Samantha worried that her mother wouldn’t live long enough to see her receive her diploma. So the family came up with a plan—they would bring Samantha’s graduation ceremony to Patty, in the hospital.
“I went in there, and all of a sudden my mom was back, you know, not having the cancer affecting her,” Samantha told WISTV.
Family members were concerned that Patty would be unable to enjoy the ceremony, because only two days prior, she was admitted to the hospital showing symptoms of psychosis, plus Patty had an extremely difficult time staying awake.
With family in attendance and a few of Samantha’s teachers from Saranac High School and Champlain Valley Technical, Samantha received her diploma for CV-Tech’s nursing program.
“It was a miracle that she was able to find herself and come back to us for that occasion. We truly had our mom back for that brief amount of time,” Donahue wrote.
Tragically, “immediately after this video [of the ceremony],” Patty fell unconscious and sadly never woke up again. She passed away two days after watching her youngest child graduate from high school. Two weeks later, Samantha received her high school diploma again in the official ceremony, but this time without her mother in attendance.
Although the Parrotte family is heartbroken over the loss of Patty, they remain grateful that she was able to find her strength to celebrate Samantha’s high school graduation.