Dying teen granted dream of travel

February 8, 2010 9:40:41 PM PST
A 16-year old girl given a year to live doesn't want to spend it in a hospital. Students, families, and staff at Foster High School came together to make sure she gets her wish. Medical bills had taken their toll on the Clement family and a terminal cancer left the high school sophomore with limited time to live. But now a community effort that started at Foster High School has given the family an opportunity to live out Carly Clements' dream.

At age 16, one of Carly's passions is art. But what's happening at her school in Rosenberg is also something to behold.

Two and half years ago, Carly was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a type of cancer that attacks bones and soft tissue. After treatment she was in remission for almost a year, until a follow-up visit detected an aggressive regrowth.

Carly's mom Leighann Clement said, "We knew that if it came back we would have a limited amount of time."

When that verdict came to Carly and her family, she was given just a year to live, and she wants to see the world. So Carly's classmates and the entire student body at Foster High want her to do so as well.

"I think an email went out to all the teachers, and then it spiraled from there," Carly said. "Everybody just started finding out and then kids started putting up posters for me."

Art teacher Alana Kocich said, "You see the lunch table, you have the booth set up, and the students are constantly coming in and throwing in their money. I have students coming to my room and knocking on my door, wanting to donate money. It's like an ongoing process, this whole giving spirit."

Traveling to Hawaii and Europe is something the family has always dreamed of, but never had the means to. So after a weekend benefit, more than $20,000 has been raised. The travel books they collected over the years are now being used to plan their itinerary.

"She has just been our miracle child so far," said Leighann. "We've just been so grateful for every day that we've had with her. But now we need to go, go, go and take her to places that we weren't able before."

Carly's last day of school is this week and the family plans to leave by the end of the month. Her 21-year-old brother, who is in the military, has been granted an expedited discharge to allow him to travel with the family.