Petal student with Batten disease beats odds, graduates

Petal student with Batten disease beats odds, graduates

PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - At Petal High School’s graduation, there was triumph as students crossed the stage to begin the next chapter of their lives.

One student who was never supposed to reach that milestone made it across the stage with a standing ovation and an emotional outpour of support.

The day Jacoby Bergeron went to prom or graduated were moments his mother, Dixie Bergeron, could only imagine after he was diagnosed with Batten disease.

His life expectancy was only eight to 12 years.

“Unfortunately, in 2015, Jacoby was diagnosed with Batten disease," Dixie said. “He’s the only child in the state with this disease.”

Dixie said it’s been a tough time, and Jacoby’s health has declined over the past year.

That’s why the graduation meant the world to her.

Dixie said the school asked if Jacoby could be the last to cross the stage.

He sat and clapped excitedly as every student crossed the stage.

A roaring crowd then witnessed what most would call a miracle. Jacoby, who is in a wheelchair, lifted up with the help of his teachers and received his diploma.

“I couldn’t breathe. The world stopped,” said Dixie.

“He stood up with just so much strength in him,” said Karen John, Jacoby’s teacher. She said he was having trouble at rehearsal, so his newfound strength was amazing.

Jacoby has now met a milestone and is captured on camera in a cap and gown. Jacoby was not supposed to be here.

“I tell people all the time God’s timing is always perfect. Jacoby was just like any other child,” said Tracy Lampley, another one of Jacoby’s teachers. “The doctor said he wouldn’t make it that far, so to see him have that moment was emotional.”

After graduation, the feelings of joy lingered on in those who watched Jacoby battle with Batten’s disease and watched him walk across the stage in front of a tearful crowd.

“It was like the whole world stopped on the outside, and for that one moment in time, everything else was forgotten,” Dixie said.

“It was like we were seeing the glory,” said John. “It was just a wonderful experience to see him walk across. I almost couldn’t contain myself.”

Jacoby’s mother and teachers said he exuded pride that day and was fully aware of the significance of the moment.

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