Virgilio Tayong, 79, may be on his deathbed, but he can die a happy man after seeing his daughter fulfill his lifelong dream for her.
Fresno, California resident Coreeliza Tayong will graduate from Marshall B. Ketchum University in May with a doctorate in optometry. When she does, she’ll become the first doctor in her family, KFSN reported.
At first, doctors told family members that Virgilio, who is suffering from acute respiratory failure, would have about six months to live. As of last week, they gave him mere days.
“He just couldn’t breathe anymore,” Coreeliza said. “He told me, ‘God, I’m not ready to go yet. My youngest still needs to graduate.'”
His dying wish was to see his daughter turn her tassel to officially become a doctor. So, the family brought the convocation to him at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center – complete with university-themed balloons and Coreeliza in a cap and gown.
Virgilio’s doctors said the persistent patient constantly talked about Coreeliza’s graduation.
“He says that every day, ‘When she graduates, my work will be complete,'” said pulmonologist Dr. John Gasman . “I think everyone recognizes he’s going to have a hard time making it to that.”
A representative for the university accompanied the family to the hospital and gave Coreeliza’s diploma to her father for safe keeping until she officially receives it in May. Coreeliza then instructed her proud father to call her “Dr. Tayong” going forward.
“My accomplishments are your accomplishments, Papa,” Coreealiza told her father, who she described as the “most selfless” person she knows.
Virgilio responded, “I’m in heaven now.”
“You’re still with us,” Coreeliza said. “You’re very much alive, papa.”
Coreeliza said she just wanted her father to feel loved. Before the graduation was over, she told him that her “mission is accomplished.”
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