Teen reaches life goal

May 22, 2009 (HANOVER PARK, Ill.) On Friday, the graduating class of Elgin High School practices for Saturday's graduation. Missing from the rehearsal is 18-year-old Roxy Flores of Hanover Park, a hospice patient. She has been battling health issues including spina bifida her entire life. Now in renal failure and unable to get a transplant she receives dialysis treatment three times a week. She has been a hospice patient for nearly a year but has hung on long enough to achieve her main goal: a high school diploma.

"I have been so much in the hospital that so many times I thought I was not going to make it. I made it," said Roxy Flores, hospice patient.

Roxy, a pediatric patient of Hope's Friends Hospice of northeastern Illinois, has been in and out of hospitals sometimes with stays lasting several months, but that has not deterred this determined young woman. She will be the first person in her family to receive a high school diploma. Her family never leaves her side.

"I thank my family for their support and for encouraging me to stay in school and being behind me," said Roxy.

"What makes her so unusual and determined. She lives life now and grabs on to every moment. We can all learn from her. She is an inspiration," said Carrie Alani, Hospice of northeastern Illinois.

"I just kept going to school to get a high school diploma," said Roxy.

"The type of hero she is to all of us. How he was called several times and told she was not going to make it," said Dave Smiley, principal, Elgin High School.

The determined teenager sits for several hours weekly to receive dialysis. Nothing is going to stop her now. She is ready with her cap and gown to go on stage for her high school diploma.

Roxy hopes to go on to college and become to nurse.

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