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Cancer Patient Gets Last Wish

January 12, 1991

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) _ A cancer patient’s courage and a little help from his friends enabled him to get his high school diploma just hours before he died.

Administrators at Grapevine High School rushed an honorary diploma to Eric Thomas Sippel’s bedside just three hours before he died of brain cancer Wednesday, fulfilling the 18-year-old senior’s last wish.

″He wanted his high school diploma so desperately,″ Assistant Principal Juneria Berges said Thursday. ″I was just very thankful that we got there.″

″The overall emotion was just one of relief that Eric’s ordeal had come to an end,″ said Dr. Douglas MacAskill of Southlake Medical Clinic. ″It had really become apparent that it had come to an end.″

People at Grapevine High had fond memories of Eric, who they said was a quiet boy who wore a hat to conceal his hair loss caused by chemotherapy.

″He deserves tribute,″ school nurse Konnie Williams agreed. ″His courage was very much an inspiration.″

Ms. Berges said she and other administrators liked Sippel because he never sought special treatment.

″We had watched Eric and we could see every day how hard he was working when he was here,″ she said. ″He walked slower. He had a hard time just picking one foot up and putting the other foot down. But he was one of those men that never asked for special privileges.″

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