Dying father sees daughter graduate at in-home ceremony

Battling leukemia, Bob Chambers wanted to see daughter get diploma

Michigan graduation ceremony
(Courtesy: WOOD)

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — As he nears the end of his life, a father got the chance to see his daughter graduate from high school thanks to leaders at Rockford Public Schools, who organized a special ceremony at their home.

Even battling leukemia hasn’t stopped 51-year-old Bob Chambers from pushing his daughter, Bethany. That’s why it was so important to see Bethany graduate, even if it meant watching from his bed in their living room on Wednesday.

“I can’t put really into words what that really meant to me,” Bob Chambers said.

Lying in his bed during his final days of life, he still has enough in him to express his gratitude.

“It’s just unbelievable. You know, they didn’t have to, there was no need for them to, but yet they did that,” he said.

Chambers was diagnosed with leukemia last June. He’s been in and out of the hospital since then and was placed in hospice on Sunday.

“When I found out that he wasn’t going to make it to my graduation, it was kind of crushing because him and I are best friends, so it was like I’m going miss out on all of this stuff that we’re not going to be able to do together anymore,” Bethany, 18, said.

So Bethany’s mom, Melissa Chambers, made a call to Rockford Public Schools that changed everything.

“I got a call back around 1 o’clock from the principal at the high school saying, ‘We’ve got far more than a certificate for you; we’re going to do her full graduation,'” Melissa Chambers said.

In hours, Bethany was in a full robe receiving her diploma in front of her favorite teachers, coaches and her dad.

“It was just great because I knew that it was going to be one less thing that he wasn’t going to be there in person for because I know he’s going to be there in spirit,” Bethany said.

“For him to get to see that and for her to have the memory that her dad saw just beyond words,” Melissa Chambers said.

Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Shibler says the ceremony was right thing to do for the family.

It was one more memory for father and daughter as the Chambers family cherishes its final moments with the man they love.

“I’ve been proud of her from day one,” Bob Chambers said.

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