FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — 18-year-old Thomas Woods was on his senior trip in Orlando, Florida, when he was experiencing chest pains.
His mother, Wendy, said the Urgent Care doctor diagnosed Thomas with Mono. After more tests, results showed that he had significant fluid around his heart and needed to be transported to MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital to get it drained out.
“Well, I didn’t think it was that serious,” Thomas Woods said. ” I just wanted to go to the doctor to make sure everything was ok, but then we got to the doctor, more stuff was going on.”
“And when he told me that we needed to go to Charleston, I said ‘but he graduates tomorrow night,” Wendy Woods said. “He said ‘this is more important.'”
After his medical procedure, nurses and doctors surprised Thomas Woods with his very own graduation ceremony — complete with a cap and gown provided by the nurses and a replica of his high school diploma from Dr. Andrew Savage. It even included the school logo and the head master’s name.
“There just aren’t enough words to thank them,” Wendy Woods said. “It was just above and beyond anything that I would’ve expected.”
Although Thomas Woods couldn’t make it to his graduation at The Kings Academy, the school and his friends made sure he was there in spirit.
One of his classmates accepted his salutatorian plaque and medal and another gave the salutatorian speech.
The school had a large picture of Thomas Woods in his seat at graduation. Wendy Woods said a classmate FaceTimed Thomas Woods right after the ceremony so he was able to speak to everyone. Thomas woods said he’s thankful to his family, friends, and staff at MUSC.
“Well, I was happy,” Thomas Woods said. “I hadn’t walked in a while, so it was good to walk again and to have that special moment with my nurses and doctors. Thank you for going above and beyond. They didn’t need to do that. I’m just very thankful for what they did.”