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Hospital Graduation Fulfills Dying Mom's Last Wish

After an eight-month battle with amyloidosis, a rare disease that can lead to life-threatening organ failure, 48-year-old Jennifer Reckner’s final wish was to see her twin sons graduate from high school in May.

But as her condition deteriorated and it became clearer she may not live to see that day, loved ones worked with her hospice care team, school officials and HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital’s medical staff to arrange an impromptu commencement ceremony in the halls of our ICU.

Dozens of friends and family showed up — with countless others joining virtually — to celebrate Logan and Lauchlan Reckner, as their mother watched from her hospital bed.

“That was her wish,” Jennifer’s husband of nearly 23 years, Stephen Reckner, said. “She got to that point where she realized there were not many things she was going to get to see happen. Those are her babies.”

With “Pomp and Circumstance” playing on a Bluetooth speaker, the 17-year-old brothers made their way down the ICU hallway donning caps and gowns, where they hugged and kissed their mom before being presented with diplomas from Navarre High School.

Loved ones cheered, clapped and cried. And Jennifer’s husband expressed his gratitude to those who made it possible for her to be a part of their sons’ special day.

“Thanks to everyone here,” he said.

Stephen says his wife made plans to donate her organs for research.

“She figured if there’s any way she could help someone down the road, that’s what she wanted,” he said. “Any of her friends here would tell you, she’d do anything for you.”

See the Facebook post here.

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