Dying man surprised by special graduation for his son

National

BILLINGS, Mont. — John Raines, 49, is living on borrowed time. He has terminal brain cancer and doctors told him a year and a half ago that he had about a year left to live. 

He keeps going, he said, because of his son Blake. He was five months premature when he was born,” John said of Blake. “They didn’t know if he was going to even breathe.  He’s been special his whole life.”

Blake, who is John’s only son, goes to Billings West High School in Billings, Montana.  He’s a senior – which is why John wanted to make it to May, at least. 

“So I can see my kid graduate,” he said. “What parent doesn’t want to see it.”

Pam Rudolph, Blake’s mom and John’s ex-wife, said there was no guarantee he’d live that long.

“That’s when I realized, we have to do something,” Rudolph said. 

Rudolph reached out to the principal at Billings West to arrange a surprise for her ex-husband. She made up an excuse to lure him to the school and into the auditorium.

“He didn’t have any idea the band would be playing and this was really happening just for him and for Blake,” she said. 

It was a graduation of one, staged for this audience of one.

“I started thinking about everything.  How much time I had. What I could do. I’m just going to spend as much time with him as I can,” Blake said. 

Blake will still have to finish out the school year.  But the milestone has now been marked, and the memory sealed.

“When I got my diploma, and I went down and hugged him, just felt so good.  It’s probably the best hug he’s ever given me,” he said.

John described the graduation as the “best day of my life.” 

“People make you happy… real happy,” he said. 

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Overcast

Abbeville

49°F Overcast Feels like 49°
Wind
0 mph
Humidity
92%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Mostly cloudy. Low 58F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
58°F Mostly cloudy. Low 58F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
7 mph SE
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
New
Clear

Crowley

51°F Clear Feels like 51°
Wind
7 mph ESE
Humidity
89%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Overcast. Low 58F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
58°F Overcast. Low 58F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
7 mph SE
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
New
Clear

Opelousas

46°F Clear Feels like 46°
Wind
0 mph
Humidity
93%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Cloudy. Low 57F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph.
58°F Cloudy. Low 57F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph.
Wind
7 mph SE
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
New
Clear

Breaux Bridge

51°F Clear Feels like 51°
Wind
3 mph ESE
Humidity
86%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Cloudy. Low 57F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
58°F Cloudy. Low 57F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
7 mph SE
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
New
Overcast

New Iberia

51°F Overcast Feels like 51°
Wind
6 mph E
Humidity
96%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Partly cloudy skies early giving way to a few showers after midnight. Low 44F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 30%.
56°F Partly cloudy skies early giving way to a few showers after midnight. Low 44F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 30%.
Wind
4 mph SE
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
New

Trending Stories

Sidebar