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Kaysville teen beats cancer same week as 8th grade graduation

Posted at 11:53 AM, May 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-18 13:53:49-04

KAYSVILLE, Utah — A teenage girl is sharing her inspiring story of surviving a difficult diagnosis to mark a milestone she and her family didn't know if she'd live to experience.

14-year-old Reagan Schellhase has had an unusual middle school experience. While most kids spend their young teen years attending school and hanging out with friends, she's spent most of it confined to her house.

She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia two and a half years ago and completed coursework for Saint Joseph Catholic School from home.

But despite the illness, she's kept on top of it.

On Friday, she got ready for graduation.

Donning a new dress and shoes, Reagan put on a light blue gown with help from her mother Angela Greenhalgh.

Stomach butterflies were flying high.

"I'm a little nervous," Reagan said. "I'm excited to just be able to graduate."

Reagan grabbed the cap, and she and her mom fiddled with the tassel.

"I probably won't even cry... this time," Angela said, with a smile.

One of the last times Angela cried was also for her daughter. It was when Reagan was diagnosed.

Since then, Reagan's taken more than 1,800 pills, undergone 88 chemotherapy infusions, gone to 136 clinic appointments, had five bone surgeries and all for her one type of cancer.

Reagan and her mom sometimes wondered if Reagan would survive it all.

"A lot of times I was so sick, I just... couldn't imagine myself making it this far," she said.

The family pushed through, together. This week, Reagan is celebrating a milestone.

"I finished treatments," Reagan said. "Last Friday was my last chemo infusion."

On Wednesday, she took her last medication. The leukemia is in remission, and it comes just days before her 8th grade graduation.

"You're just the most awesome kid, and I'm really proud of you," Angela said, giving her daughter a kiss.

At Holy Family Catholic Church Friday evening, Reagan walked across the stage to accept her diploma.

Not only is she graduating — she's doing so with high honors.

"She's valedictorian of her class," Angela said.

Even through it all, Reagan managed to keep up a perfect 4.0 GPA. She also received awards like the Freedom Leadership Award, the Spanish Award and honor tassels.

A perfect way to end 8th grade, and for mom, perfectly proud.

She'll still have to undergo monthly tests to make sure her leukemia doesn't relapse.

Reagan said she's now ready for high school, and to fully regain her health.

"Support systems are there for you," Reagan said her message is from all of this. "And, if you really try hard, you can push through anything."