STORY OF HOPE: Tennessee teen battling cancer receives high school diploma
A Tennessee teen battling a rare form of kidney cancer traded the hospital gown for a graduation gown this past weekend as she accepted her high school diploma.
Alcoa High School's Hannah Tate was well enough to leave St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis to reunite with her classmates as the seniors graduated May 15.
Hannah hit some remarkable milestones this year but it wasn't without some bumps. She was diagnosed with cancer the day before her 18th birthday.
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Hannah started feeling sick as she was getting ready for her final season of basketball, her favorite sport.
"The week of Halloween, I was just feeling terrible," she said. "I had a spike in fevers and couldn't breathe on my right side."
Hannah figured she might have bronchitis but doctors took X-rays and it was so much worse. They broke the news to Hannah and her mom at a Knoxville hospital.
"The ER doctor came in, she didn't sugar coat it at all and was like -- we looked at the scans at the x-rays -- your daughter has cancer and that was it," she said. "I cried for like two minutes but then I was like: God's got this, you're going to be fine."
Hannah had a rare form of kidney cancer. She was flown to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis where she would spend the majority of her senior year.
Hannah took a timeout from her favorite things: no basketball, no dance and no track. And through all the chemotherapy and radiation, Hannah lost her hair but she never lost her hope.
She was determined to be back home for two huge high school milestones and she made it back home for prom in March and graduation in May.
"My doctors and my surgeons really wanted to get me out there and they made it happen," she said.
Things are on the rebound for the graduate. Doctors didn't find anything on her recent scans. She wraps up chemotherapy in June and hopes to start her freshman year at Tennessee cancer-free.