Scott Sullivan got to hug his son Cade one last time before his opening game of high school football season.
For a terminally ill patient, having their final wish fulfilled is their best way of making it out in high spirits. A father got to experience just that as he hugged his son before the first game of football season in a special moment. Scott Sullivan of Somerset, Kentucky was at the end of his tether, suffering from a rare form of cancer. He was admitted to a hospital in early August and diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a complication of cancer in which the disease spreads to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. According to the National Institutes of Health, even with treatment, overall survival is approximately two to four months.
His son Cade was part of his high school football team and the father wanted to see him play one last time. The doctors had given 50-year-old Sullivan Sr. only a few weeks to live and left him in the care of the hospice nurses. He continued to battle his illness but wanted to live long enough to see Cade's first football game of his sophomore year at Pulaski County High School. He asked his nurse Jerree Humphrey of Hospice of Lake Cumberland if such a request could be possible. The two of them had developed a friendship already as both had children around the same age who played sports, albeit at rival schools.
The request was not one she could immediately recommend though. The game was taking place in Belfry, a three-and-a-half-hour drive away and was totally unsuitable for a hospice patient. "I thought you know you're talking seven or eight hours in the car and I said I don't know how safe that would be or how realistic," said Humphrey. Yet, the nurse was totally sympathetic to his plight and found a way to make it happen. She reached out to a nearby airport and within days, a local dentist, Dr. Denny Brummett, offered to fly Sullivan to the game on his personal plane. Upon hearing that bit of news, Sullivan became overcome with emotion, unable to believe that it might actually happen. "Words could not be put into sentences or phrases to describe how I felt at that time," he said. "I was just so happy to see my son."
Then, on September 11, Humphrey, Brummett, Sullivan, and Sullivan's girlfriend caught the plane for game day. As an extra precaution due to his health, they did not sit in the stands with the rest of the fans but remained on a hill away from the crowd. Cade Sullivan still managed to spot his father and ran up the hill to hug him with all his might. The teenager could not believe what he was seeing and it was nothing short of a miracle to see his father at the game to support him one last time. The elder Sullivan meanwhile also felt a magical moment when they hugged and thought that they have created a memory that will last forever - one that his son will be able to remember when he's gone.
The nurse Humphrey was also overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of this father-son union. She felt glad to have helped out in his last request, as all the trouble she went through to make it happen was now totally worth it. "You could just not help but cry," Humphrey said. "He just embraced him so hard and was just so thankful for him to be there." Sullivan hopes he will have the chance to make it to his son's next football game on Saturday.