WACO -High school graduates are now celebrating after completing 13 years of education, many preparing themselves for the real world. For one midway high school senior, it's a day doctors never thought she would see.
"I'm just ready to be done,” said Jenna Richbourg just moments before she joined more than 500 of her fellow seniors of Midway High School for their commencement ceremony at Baylor’s Ferrell Center.
"It's crazy and different for me and yeah, finally graduating,” said Jenna.
"I knew this day was going to come eventually but for it to finally be here, it's scary. But I'm also thrilled for Jenna because this is what she has wanted for so long,” said Sherri Richbourg, Jenn’s mother.
In front of her family and friends, Jenna Richbourg walked across the stage all on her own and accepted her diploma from Midway High School. It is a moment doctors told Jenna’s parents she would never see.
"When Jenna was first diagnosed, we knew her life expectancy was maybe 2 years but probably less than that because of her heart,” said Sherri.
At 5 months old, Jenna was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Hurler's Syndrome, a form of MPS. The condition causes progressive damage to the heart, liver, spleen and brain. Her parents braced themselves for the worst. Luckily, it never came.
After a life-changing bone marrow transplant as a toddler, Jenna’s health improved. After several surgeries and continued heart treatments, Jenna is now leading a life that was once impossible by medical standards.
"To be here 18-19 years later doing something we never thought we would participate in or experience, it's just amazing,” said Sherri. "It's going to be a whole new life for us. Absolutely. God has taken care of Jenna. Absolutely. So we are thrilled that she's made it this far."
Jenna will continue receiving treatments once a week to keep her heart healthy and strong. She plans to spend her summer with friends and working at the family business.