Smiling through her tears, a student was surprised on Tuesday as representatives from her school in Mandaluyong City staged a special graduation rite at the hospital in Cagayan de Oro City where she was undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Maria Julpha Villa, 20, finished her studies to attain a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education at Rizal Technological University (RTU) in Mandaluyong, but was not expecting to attend commencement exercises on May 25. She had to be hospitalized after being diagnosed with stage 4 acute mylogenous leukemia, or “cancer of the blood” in February.
Dressed in a toga by hospital staff, Villa received her diploma and was awarded with a medal of excellence as her parents watched.
Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres, president of RTU, said school officials wanted Villa and her parents to be able to mark the completion of her studies, which she had wished for and worked towards for years.
She had been a university scholar for 4 years due to her skills in the Filipino martial art of arnis.
According to Villa, while she finds each day a challenge due to her illness, she remains hopeful and prays to recover so she can achieve her dream of becoming a teacher.
This story first appeared on ABS-CBN News Online and republished with permission.