Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 26, 2014
Andalusia High School senior Megan Kelley is looking forward to graduation a little more than most students, after missing most of her final year in high school while being treated for cancer at UAB Medical Center.
“July 12 of last year we found out the diagnosis was Ewing’s Sarcoma,” Megan’s mom, Donna Kelley, said. “She’s had treatments every two weeks since then. She gets five-day treatments for eight hours a day, then she’s off for two weeks. Then, she takes two-day treatments for eight hours a day.”
But both mother and daughter say, by AHS’ graduation day in May, they hope to be done with Megan’s nearly yearlong ordeal.
“She’s been doing the treatments since July,” Donna said. “She took her 48th treatment Monday, and we are done. We go back Thursday for scans and blood work and if they are clear, she is cancer-free and in remission.”
Donna said next week’s appointment comes at a special time, as it is only days after Friday’s Covington County Relay for Life, a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, and just weeks before Megan’s scheduled graduation.
“Megan has been involved in Relay before, but I never have,” Donna said. “But you can bet I will be now.”
As for school, Donna said her daughter has missed all of the 2013-14 year, but has kept her grades up through home schooling and is excited to spend what time she can with classmates before graduating.
“She has all As will get an advance honors diploma and is going to walk the stage,” Donna said. “They’ve been wonderful at the high school to work with her. She’s hoping to be back next Monday.”
But Donna said Megan has learned more than just her required academics during her time off from school.
“She knew she wanted to be a nurse, but now she knows she wants to be an oncology nurse,” she said. “She knows what these people are going through and she wants to help that way.”
Donna also pointed to her church family, Bethany Baptist, as well as fellow church member Bailey Byrd, who is also fighting cancer, as instrumental in Megan’s recovery.
“Our church has just been phenomenal,” she said. “Bailey and Megan both go to Bethany. This Sunday is ‘Wear Yellow for Megan Day.’ They are asking countywide for people to wear yellow to church to celebrate Megan being cancer free.”
And that celebration, Donna said, is one she believes God will grant her daughter.
“She has been so upbeat and she just continues to smile,” Donna said. “She has kept a positive attitude. She knows God wouldn’t do this unless He had a greater plan. “
As for Megan herself, she said just getting back to normal might be the greatest gift of all.
“Right now, I’m just tired from getting that treatment, but I’ll have my energy back and I’ll feel better soon,” she said. “I’m ready for graduation and just going to the beach and being with my friends, and going back to school. I’m excited.”