With her mother running out of time, Samantha Parrotte had to act fast so mom could be present for her graduation.
Parrotte, 18, who graduated from Champlain Valley Technical Center on June 20, organized her accomplishment two weeks early so her mom could watch her get her diploma.
“No words to describe how incredible that moment was,” Parrotte told InsideEdition.com of her mother's presence at her graduation.
Parrotte’s mother, Patty, was battling triple negative breast cancer and dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disease, for 10 months. It started as a butterfly rash on her chest in August that spread to her face and body.
Parrotte says Patty had been misdiagnosed by her doctor, who told her it was not cancer. The readings came back negative because of how hard the cancer was to detect. It was Patty’s dermatologist who discovered the grim diagnosis.
Parrotte’s concern was Patty’s absence from her graduation when she was going to receive her high school diploma. Then, it was a teacher from her New York vocational school, CV-Tech, who thought to bring the graduation to Patty.
“I told my allied health teacher my mom’s not doing well,” Parrotte explained. “She called me down to the principal’s office and presented the idea.”
Patty was cared for at the University of Vermont Medical Center where she was suffering from psychosis and delirium.
CV-Tech gathered some of Parrotte’s favorite teachers from the vocational school and teachers from her home school, Saranac High School, to successfully hold the commencement.
The group traveled to the hospital in Vermont to grant Parrotte her new degree in front of her mom.
The family was afraid Patty wouldn't be able to stay awake for the graduation. Parrotte even warned her teachers that she may not be awake. To everyone’s surprise, Patty fought to remain alert and be a part of her youngest daughter’s big day.
“When I went in there and I saw her sitting up, keeping her eyes open, smiling at me, I was amazed,” Parrotte said. “It was shocking for sure and I was speechless.”
Parrotte’s sister, Dorothy Donahue, recorded the ceremony in Patty’s room on June 7. Their father, Todd, was in the video by his wife’s side.
“It was so special. My wife wished to see her graduate,” Todd said. “She was so proud of her.”
Parrotte can be seen entering the room with her white cap and gown, and greeting her mother with a big hug. After a few teachers spoke, Parrotte was presented with her diploma as her mom watched and applauded.
“We saw our mom be our mom," Parrotte said. "It was mind-blowing."
Immediately after the video was recorded, Patty fell unconscious and did not wake up. Less than 48 hours later, Patty was dead.
“I think that my mom was truly holding on for that moment,” Parrotte said.
Parrotte says her mom watched all her siblings graduate, including her deceased brother, who died of a drug overdose in March. She says Patty knew about the graduation and she believes her mom was relieved she saw it happen before her eyes.
Two weeks later, Parrotte attended her CV-Tech commencement with her graduating class.
“It was definitely hard,” Parrotte said. “…at the same time you know she got to see me accept my diploma and wear my cap and gown and I know that she saw it and she’s still with me.”
Although Todd gave Parrotte the option to take a break, Parrotte declined and impressed her father with a 96 plus average and the Student Excellence Award in her allied health program.
“She really stepped up the plate, big time,” Todd said.
Parrotte will be attending Clinton Community College in the fall, and will be studying nursing in hopes of one day becoming an RN. Her mother and her brother are major influences in her career path.