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Addison senior fighting cancer graduates

Published: Friday, June 20, 2014 10:52 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 20, 2014 10:57 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
Addison Trail High School graduate Xena Nelms (back row, fifth from left) stands with classmates (back, from left) Miranda Ristich, Morgan Pirtle, Tyler Skupien, Corin Cooney, Mallory Mandarino, Laura Fiasche, Krystina Liosatos, Gabriella Scialabba, Stephanie Maucieri, Megan Lobner (front, from left) and Elaine Diamond. Nelms was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on May 1 but returned to school on June 3 to finish out her senior year with her friends at prom and graduation.

ADDISON – Hundreds of Addison Trail High School students walked across the stage and received their diplomas June 8, but for one of them, the accomplishment was extra special.

Just a couple weeks ago, the school's 48th annual commencement ceremony was far from senior Xena Nelms' mind.

In April, Nelms started to feel increasing fatigue, and she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on May 1. Nelms recently underwent her first round of chemotherapy but was able to return to school and visit her classmates on June 3, according to a District 88 newsletter.

Nelms said in the newsletter that she was thrilled to be able to finish her senior year with her friends by attending graduation and prom.

Nelms’ mom, Carrie, said she’s overwhelmed by the support from Addison Trail and the community. Addison Trail Principal Adam Cibulka and Athletic Director Matt Thompson visited Nelms at Loyola University Medical Center, where she’s receiving treatment, according to the newsletter.

Cibulka said Nelms made a huge impact on Addison Trail during her years at the school. She was involved with an event to help incoming freshmen transition to high school called Pay It Forward, yearbook, Student Council, National Honor Society and the Addison Trail-Willowbrook Girls Swim Team, the newsletter stated.

Carrie said a fundraiser to help the family and the charities that have supported Nelms is being planned for July 18 at American Tap, 701 W. Lake St. in Addison, and more details will be available soon.

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