Ochsner Hospital hosts graduation for teen waiting for heart - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Ochsner Hospital hosts graduation for teen waiting for heart

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New Orleans - At Ochsner Hospital Saturday, a graduation ceremony was held for a very special young man. Kaylon Marshall is waiting for a new heart, but that isn't keeping him from reaching his goals, and completing high school.

With the pomp and circumstance that every graduate deserves, the 17-year-old Marshall walked amongst his friends and family Saturday afternoon to accept his high school diploma.

Marshall's road to graduation hasn't been easy. In 2011, he left his Shreveport High School to come to New Orleans, and Ochsner. It's the only hospital in the state with a pediatric heart transplant program. While waiting for a new heart, Marshall continued his studies with Riverdale High School in Jefferson Parish. But because of his condition, he wasn't able to attend the school's graduation ceremony. So the staff at Ochsner decided to throw him a ceremony of his own. "All of this for me, makes me feel good," Marshall said Saturday.

Marshall admits, he had to fight hard with his studies to make it to this point saying, "I was always tired. I couldn't really keep my focus but my momma would help me, we'd stay up late night."

Marshall's mom, Pamela says she's extremely proud...not only did her son complete high school, but he did it on time! "I would always say, well Kaylon, you're sick, you can't do this, you can't do this, you're sick. He was like momma, I'm not sick, I just need a heart. So just let me do what I can do," Pamela remembers.

Most of Marshall's friends and family say they're truly impressed with the young man. His uncle told him Saturday, "What you've accomplished from a hospital bed, is not to be taken lightly. You're in great company. Your tenacity, your determination, your perseverance, are a tribute to your will to succeed."

Marshall says next up for him...attending college. "I'm happy I'm done. Now it's time to get the next level, to college. When I get that one, I'll be set." That is, after, he gets a new heart.

Along with celebrating his graduation Saturday, Kaylon Marshall also wants to encourage everyone to sign up to be organ donors. Marshall is hoping he'll receive a heart soon, so that he can go on to college.

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