BATON ROUGE - Jerome Singleton received his diploma while surrounded by family, friends, faculty, and nurses.

Every one present had been by the 17-year-old's side during his b*attle with an a*ggressive form of c*ancer known as R*habdomyosarc*oma, or RMS. His family says receiving his diploma was his d*ying wish.

Scotlandville High School granted Jerome an early diploma after his family told the school he wouldn't make it to his graduation ceremony just days away.

"Once we got toward the end, when he got real weak, we did a lot of talking," said Jerome Cockran, the boy's father. "All he talked about was wanting to graduate."

Jerome was first d*iagnosed in March 2016 and spent the past year traveling between Baton Rouge and Memphis for a total of 47 ch*emotherapy t*reatments. The tr*eatments seemed to be working until about six weeks ago, when the family received d*evastating news.

"They told him that m*edically there was nothing else they could do, that h*ospice was available," Jerome's stepmother, Makish Cockran said. "They told him he could still do ch*emo, but he would always have c*ancer and that's something no 17-year-old wants to hear."

Jerome, referred to by family as an 'old soul', made the decision on his own to stop ch*emo and move into h*ospice care at home.


His father says he's at peace knowing his son achieved the goal he's had since he was a little boy.

"The closer you are to your kids, the more you can accept the bad things if they get worse," Jerome's father said. "Because you know that you did everything you could for them, and you won't have any regrets."


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