The Craig Hospital Foundation and Craig’s Clinical Care Management department hosted a surprise graduation party for Alex Fraser, a high school senior who was an inpatient at Craig Hospital, on Sunday, May 18.
Fraser with two of the Colorado Avalanche Ice Girls and Nuggets Ambassador Mark Randall.
During the party, Fraser participated in his high school graduation ceremony via Skype and was presented with his diploma by his parents under a shower of confetti. When Fraser’s name was called and his image appeared on the screen at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena, his graduating class gave him a standing ovation.
An avid Colorado Avalanche fan, Fraser was also surprised by a visit from theAvalanche Ice Girls and Mark Randall, Nuggets community ambassador. Nearly 50 people attended the celebration, including Fraser’s family members, friends, Craig staff members and fellow patients.
Fraser, from Overland Park, Kansas, was paralyzed after diving into a wave while on a family trip in Mexico. He is an Eagle Scout, a member of the Blue Valley High School drum line, and a championship swimmer.
Fraser acknowledges the school’s standing ovation.
The party was planned by Karen Jensen, Fraser’s clinical care manager, and was paid for by the Craig Hospital Foundation’s donor-supported Patient Assistance Fund. The fund provides financial support to patients and families at Craig, helping purchase adaptive equipment, remodel homes for accessibility, train caregivers, pay mortgages and meet other needs. The Patient Assistance Fund also provides funding for patients who are celebrating milestones or other important events while at Craig.
“Alex is a great kid, he has a very positive attitude and was an inspiration to the staff and the other patients while he was at Craig,” says Jensen. “When we knew that Alex wouldn’t be able to attend his graduation back home, we knew we wanted to help him make a special memory.”
The party was covered by Denver’s KUSA-TV.
“Alex commented in the TV interview he did after the event that it was the most special event in his life,” says Mike Fraser, Alex Fraser’s father. “It was a VERY special event for all of us and I know for the school community as well.”