SC students bring prom to teen battling cancer
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — MeKayla Gist, 17, also known as the “Queen Warrior” can light up even the dimmest hospital room with her positive personality.
“For months of her having pain and limping, I just knew something was wrong, it was hard to see her going through her pain,” MeKayla’s mother said. “So I decided to take her to an orthopedic surgeon. And he looked at her knee and did some tests and x-rays,” Jermeca Jackson said.
Doctors found MeKayla had a form of cancer, osteosarcoma in her left knee. She was diagnosed with cancer at the age of just 15-years-old, going through countless chemotherapy sessions, but with another large hurdle in the forefront.
“Then through all of that, we ended up having to amputate her leg to save her life,” Jackson said. MeKayla pushed through cancer-free for about a year.
“We found out in February this year 2017, that she had a relapse of osteosarcoma on her right hip.”
MeKayla needed an immediate surgery and wound up back at Spartanburg Regional.
There’s a reason she’s called a warrior and a queen, however. She wins every time, and inspires other kids while she’s at it.
“They can still be the homecoming queen, they can still get straight A’s, they can still do whatever they want to do with the help from others,” Gist said.
She’s managed to put a check mark by a big list of things in her lifetime, with a smile on her face. But one thing she hasn’t done is go to prom.
When her high school class at Chapman High School, heard about MeKayla’s ongoing battle, they knew they needed to bring the party to her.
Students lined up to surprise her at the hospital in the lobby, and in a beautiful blue gown, MeKayla was named Prom Queen.
“She’s one of the strongest people you’ll ever meet,” said a friend of MeKayla. “You don’t meet someone that strong in a lifetime, and we knew if anyone deserved the crown, it was definitely her.”
“She really has a lot of determination and she’s not going to let anything stop her,” Jackson said.
There will be a benefit at Chapman High School on April 29 in honor of MeKayla and a GoFund Me Page has been set up as well.