Written by Emily Logan
In October of last year, Angel Alderete shared her teenage son Mel’s incredible story with Care2. And now, her hard work to advocate for her son’s well-being and teenage experience has paid off. Angel sent us the footage of Mel walking across the stage at his high school graduation. We wanted to share this joyful moment with you, for helping to make it happen. Here is the video of Mel’s big moment as an Honorary Graduate at Volcano Vista High School:
In March 2013, Mel was rushed to the hospital for an infection and mysterious illness. A surgery on his brain to try to fix the issue resulted in a brain bleed and a subsequent surgery. As a result of an excruciating 55-day hospital stay, his mother says that on a coma scale of one to ten, Mel is at about a three.
In the months following his surgery, his incredible family worked with Mel to attend rehab sessions and make life as joyful as possible. But then they were given some terrible news — because the surgery had set back Mel’s school progress and he did not have the credits for a diploma, Volcano Vista High School would not allow him to walk at the graduation ceremony with his class. Angel just would not accept this, and started a petition on Care2 to ask the school to allow Mel the once-in-a-lifetime experience of high school graduation. She wrote, “The brain injury has left Mel basically locked in his own body unable to walk or talk. It would be unethical for APS to take this away from him after all he has been through.”
Within days of the petition going up, thousands of people were speaking out for Mel, news outlets were covering his story, and soon thereafter the school responded that they would allow Mel to walk. And the rest is history! Thanks to the inspiring work of Angel Alderete and her family, Mel continues to experience the joys of life, and improves by the day.
If you have something you want to change in your community, your state or the world, create a petition today.
Photo courtesy of Angel Alderete.