Methodist staff holds college graduation for U of M student admitted to hospital

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A University of Memphis student was heartbroken when a sudden illness made her miss her graduation, but strangers came together to make sure she still had a special ceremony.

Days before her college graduation, Brooke Cates was admitted to the hospital for an allergic reaction to a prescription medication.

“We went to take a little walk down the hall and I was just super winded and weak and knew I wouldn’t be able to cross that stage," she said.

The realization she’d be in the hospital for her Sunday graduation after five years of studying was hard to take in.

But then the nursing staff at Methodist Germantown surprised her with a present.

“Oh my gosh, when the nurse came in with the black cap and gown. I was shocked. I was like, 'Where did she get that from?'”

Cates’ husband videotaped as she put on the cap and gown. Her eyes filled with tears.

Her nurse told her to call them when she was ready. When she did, she walked out to the sound of the traditional graduation song.

Her parents, brother, sister and nursing staff threw confetti and cheered as she walked down the hallway.

And of course, there were more tears.

It’s not your typical graduation walk, but it’s one Cates will always remember.

“It was more special than I could’ve ever imagined.”

She said as she now applies to a radiology program to become an X-Ray technician, she’ll never forget the staff at the Methodist Germantown Hospital.

“That’s not part of their job description, but the fact they took that extra step, I appreciate them so, so much.”