COLUMBIA — Although Denisha Shavon Renee Midgyett was undergoing dialysis and had to carry an oxygen tank with her through the halls of Hickman High School, she was determined to get her diploma.
Medical complications kept her in high school a year longer than her graduating class, but she was undeterred.
“She didn’t want a GED, she wanted a diploma,” her cousin Kelly Midgyett said. “She would be drained from dialysis but she would still get up and go to school.”
Hickman school counselor Leigh Spence said that up until Ms. Midgyett went to the hospital, her grades were the best this year that she had ever had.
“I look at her as someone who had every excuse not to graduate and it was so important for her to accomplish that,” Spence said.
On April 8, Ms. Midgyett succeeded and, although she was in the intensive care unit at the time, she received her diploma.
Ms. Midgyett died at University Hospital after suffering from several long-term medical complications on April 22, 2010. She was 20.
“Nothing got her down… She never gave up, she was a fighter,” her mother, Angela Fields, said.*
Ms. Midgyett was born on Aug. 11, 1989, and lived in the Columbia community her entire life. She attended Field Elementary and Jefferson Junior High before she went to Hickman.
Spence said that before her death, the faculty at Hickman nominated Ms. Midgyett for a Super Kewp Award for outstanding accomplishments in the Hickman community. Her family will accept it in her honor Wednesday night.
Fields said when she would pick her up from school each day Ms. Midgyett always sat on the same bench, surrounded by friends. The bench, which sits outside Assistant Principal Tracey Conrad’s office, will be dedicated to the recent graduate.
Medical expenses and loss of family income have left Ms. Midgyett’s family unable to pay for the funeral costs and the Hickman High School community is in the process of raising $7,000 to help cover the funeral costs for the Midgyett family. The Millard Family Funeral Home has donated its services to the family as well.
Hickman High School and the family have asked that donations be sent to the Millard Family Funeral Home, 12 E. Ash St., Columbia, MO 65203*.
Known for her smile, her siblings said she was always laughing and joking. Even when her brothers, Stone and Steel Midgyett, would make fun of her favorite musicians, she couldn’t stay angry.
“She would get mad at us for like two minutes and then she’d be talking again,” Stone Midgyett said.
Ms. Midgyett also loved reading, watching movies, social networking on Facebook and MySpace and spending time with her niece and nephew.