WILMINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- A North Carolina college student was determined not to let a terminal cancer diagnosis stop him from his goal of getting a college degree.
For years, Sean Edwards Jr. worked hard to accomplish his dream.
"This day would be the day that he would walk across the stage to get his bachelor's degree in communication," said his father, Sean Edwards Sr.
Then the younger Edwards got an unexpected diagnosis.
"In March of this year, we found out that he had a germ cell tumor in his chest," Edwards Sr. said.
Despite his obstacles, Edwards Jr. stayed determined to reach his goal, receiving chemotherapy, and trying to keep up his energy to finish what he started, with his family by his side, cheering him on.
"He finished his studies, he continued to work hard at his studies," Edwards Sr. said. "He did one of his final assignments in the hospital bed while I sat next to him."
He met all the requirements needed to obtain his undergraduate degree from UNC Wilmington.
"He still continued to fight, but on Sept. 7 of this year, he passed away," Edwards Sr. said. "But his fight is what I continue to fight for."
Sean Edwards Sr. finished what his son started, accepting his degree alongside his son's classmates.
"He was full of joy, laughter, loved life, just embraced being part of something bigger than himself," Edwards Sr. said.
His family cherishes the 24 years they had with him.
"I feel like this is the final stamp of approval on him, part of his legacy is that he persevered, he did not give up," Edwards Sr. said.
The elder Edwards said he hopes his son's story pushes people to not give up on their dreams, no matter the challenges they face.