Oakland teen graduates high school while battling cancer

Friday, June 09, 2017 08:46PM
An Oakland teenager who is battling cancer got to do something incredible Friday - he graduated from high school.


OAKLAND, Calif. - An Oakland teenager who is battling cancer got to do something incredible Friday - he graduated from high school.

Darryl Aikens arrived to a hero's welcome, and said he was amazed. "How many friends I still have that I thought that I lost but I didn't," Aikens said.

The former McClymonds High football player hasn't been to school in a while. He was told his graduation day might never come.

"This is like a dream come true," Aikens said.

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Aikens has leukemia, and even after a bone marrow transplant last spring, doctors told him he had only months to live.

"What makes me want to keep going? I got something to prove," he said.

Aikens is not a quitter. But, he's also proving something else.

At a school where attendance and graduation rates are falling, he's defying the odds both medically and academically.

"Just to graduate, that's huge. As an African American male that's huge. The city of Oakland, we're trying to make those things get better, but Darryl is one of those ones who made it," Darryl's cousin Brian McGhee said.

Aikens has had some inspiration in his drive to keep fighting after being a lifelong Warriors fan, he got to meet the team with help from the Make-A-Wish foundation a few months ago. He loves Kevin Durant.

"Someone so strong and courageous - you know we can learn a lot from him," Kevin Durant said. And so can his classmates. They say he's easy to love.

He was afraid he wouldn't be able to walk with his class in graduation, but was able to just hours before Game 4 of the NBA Finals. "His wish was to graduate and watch the W's win another championship. So here we are today," Darry's first football coach Todd Walker said.

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