Teen Battling Cancer Graduates In Rare Ceremony

Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-15 20:48:02-04

A Dickson County High School student battling Leukemia was given a special graduation ceremony during school hours.

About an hour before dismissal at Dickson County High School Tuesday, bleachers of the football field began filling up.

Students and community members gathered for an early graduation ceremony for only one student.

"This past year didn't really go as I planned," said senior, Peyton Arnold. 

Peyton was diagnosed with Leukemia just as he started his senior year last year. His fellow classmates were able to graduate, but Peyton was in the hospital and didn't get the chance to walk across the stage. "I was getting a bone marrow transplant at the time," he said. 

It was his second time battling the disease. Peyton fought to find motivation. "I wasn't really like I want to die, it was more like I was ready to die," Peyton explained. 

Through the support of his family, friends and coaches Peyton found the strength he needed to finish school. "I'm going to come in, I'm going to get it done, get my high school diploma instead of a GED," he said. 

Peyton reached his goal but his body could not fight off the cancer any longer. He recently got the news, the Leukemia was back and his days are numbered.

"So proud to call Peyton my son. He's been nothing but positive through all three of these battles," his mother, Penny Arnold said. 

Surrounded by the senior class and with the entire student body watching, Peyton did what he never thought possible, he graduated from high school.

"I'm very proud, that's all I can say. I'm very proud of his accomplishments like anybody would be," said his father, Donny Arnold. 

To his fellow classmates, team members and the freshman class, Peyton has this message. "Don't wish your life away," he said. "There's always positives to look at."