After she walked off the stage and into adulthood Denae Edgar decided to forego basketball and is pursuing a career in child and youth care instead.

Student beats medical odds to attend grad

Grade 12 student Denae Edgar missed grad prom because of a medical condition but bound and determined she made it to the grad ceremony

Alberni District Secondary School Grade 12 student Denae Edgar joined more than 200 graduates who walked the stage at the AV Multiplex to receive their certificates of completion.

Adorned in her red grad gown and cap Edgar walked on the stage as a Grade 12 student then walked down the runway and into adult life.

Her achievement is remarkable not because she graduated but because she was physically able to attend the ceremony. Just weeks before,  a medical condition prevented her from attending prom.

In early June, Edgar had gone grad dress shopping in Nanaimo and picked out her dress, shoes and accessories and she’d made final plans for the June 7 prom.

“I really felt grad coming after the May long weekend,” Edgar said. “I was sitting around the fire with friends at Sproat Lake and I thought ‘I’m graduating and leaving here in less than four months’”.

On Wednesday, June 4 Edgar was going about her day at school. She was only taking two classes and worked at a job the rest of the time. She felt a little off by noon.

“My stomach started feeling funny and then it started to hurt,” Edgar said.

She went home to get ready for work but the pain wouldn’t subside and was getting worse. She went to work but the pain was too much to take.

“I stayed at work for 20 minutes but the pain was so bad that I was hunched over and knew I had to go,” she said.

Edgar tried to go to the walk-in clinic but it was closed. She went to West Coast General Hospital where she waited in the emergency room for three hours before a doctor finally examined her.

“When he pressed on my stomach it hurt like nothing I’ve felt before,” she said.

Edgar was prescribed antibiotics but nearly fainted as she tried to leave. She checked into hospital and was prescribed morphine which didn’t stop the pain, and her blood pressure began to drop.

The next morning a scan revealed that a cyst burst and a large amount of blood had pooled around one of her ovaries.

Doctors operated on Edgar from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. They repaired the damage and managed to save her ovary but Edgar was left in a lot of pain. “It hurt so bad when they moved me from one bed to another.”

The incision in her stomach required staples to close. Merely laughing tensed her stomach and caused pain. “That was hard because I’m the kind of person who likes to laugh and have fun,” Edgar said.

She spent Friday and Saturday recovering in hospital. Edgar vowed not to miss prom and tried to take a few steps on June 7 but the pain was too much to take.

“The surgeon said I shouldn’t go because it would tear my incision. I got really emotional and really sad because I didn’t want to miss it, but I was going to.”

On the evening of prom Edgar’s friends who were also graduating visited her in hospital before going to prom.

Edgar sat in her room until her step-mother came in and asked her to come to the ward’s visiting area. “My family set up a mini-prom for me with cake, balloons and decorations,” she said. “They had to be serious though because I still couldn’t laugh. I cried though.”

Edgar left hospital and spent a week at home in bed. The standout athlete would have gone stir-crazy if not for home entertainment. “When you’re laid up in bed then Netflix is the thing,” she said.

Edgar made it to ADSS on the last day of school (June 13) to get her yearbook signed and to say goodbye to some teachers.

She also managed to attend the ADSS awards ceremony that same day. She won the Barry Gus Crisis Response Memorial Bursary as well as a Dogwood District Authority Award for volunteer work.

A member of the Ditidaht First Nation, Edgar attended the Nuu-chah-nulth Graduation Ceremony on June 13 where she got to wear her prom dress for the first time.

“I was excited because that was the moment I’d been waiting for all year,” she said. “I missed prom but I got to feel the same thing at the NTC grad. It made up for a lot.”

Edgar is focusing her attention on her future now.

She’s set to attend Camosun College in September where she will be studying child and youth care for two years before transferring to the University of Victoria to complete her degree. She hopes to work with children when done.

The experience has both tempered and wizened Edgar. “It’s been hard and I feel like I missed a lot in the last two weeks,” she said.

“I learned that things can happen suddenly so you should grasp life tightly while you can because you never know.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

Just Posted

Alberni Armada boys crowned Island wrestling champs for 19th consecutive year

Alberni wrestlers bring home hardware from Islands, prep for B.C.’s at home

City of Port Alberni sticks to three percent

City council has proposed an annual increase of three percent for residential taxpayers

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Port Alberni’s drug death rate ‘highest on Island’ says medical health officer

British Columbia entered a state of emergency in 2017 over the opioid crisis

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into second place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Trump says more must be done to protect children

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.

Most Read