Westside High School senior receives diploma early to grant terminally ill father’s last wish

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CLEAR FORK, WV (WVNS) – In his final weeks, Pat Keneda said her husband, Larry, had one dying wish…

“He knows he’s sick… he knows he doesn’t have very long and he was hoping that he could see Kayla get her high school diploma,” Pat said.

COVID-19 forced Kayla Keneda’s senior year at Westside High School to grind to a screeching halt.
The question of a large class graduation ceremony became uncertain as her father battled a rare, aggressive cancer. He was diagnosed last fall.

“They found out he had Dermatofibrosarcoma,” Pat added. “It starts in the tissue of the body and then it spreads like fire.”

The family realized time was precious, and called Principal Keith Stewart with a special request.

“Kayla is a wonderful young lady loved by all of us here at Westside,” Stewart told 59 News. “To help a father see his daughter have a successful step in life, there’s was no questions about it. I wanted to get that done for her.”

It was by her father’s bedside, surrounded by those who love them most, when Mr. Stewart shook her hand and presented her with an unofficial diploma. While it lacked the big stage and crowds, the family said it was perfect.

“He was very emotional..but relieved,” Pat added. “That’s his little girl.”

A fundraising page has also been set up to help Kayla’s family during this difficult time.

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