Kids attend school, even as they fight for their lives

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INDIANAPOLIS – Even through the sounds of a dialysis machine, Noah Mikel goes to school three days a week.

His school is at Riley Hospital for Children, in a setting that is nothing like a traditional classroom.

Noah and his dad, Lee Mikel, drive several hours to Riley three times a week. Noah is waiting on a kidney transplant and on the days he does dialysis, he misses school completely.

“(This) keeps him up, so he doesn’t get behind. I think it’s really good,” Mikel said.

Seven teachers work full-time at the hospital, holding class for an hour each day and tutoring patients in their rooms if they’re not feeling well or able to get up.

Daija Lawson is one of those kids. She has been fighting leukemia since May and even though she’s now in remission, she has one last round of chemo to do. Through it all, Daija has gone to class.

“She was an Honor Roll student, perfect attendance before any of this happened,” Daija’s mom Sonsaray Lawson said.

In 16-year-old Jesus Cazeras’s case, the tutoring sessions are keeping his future on track.

“(I want to) be able to graduate when I’m supposed to graduate,” Cazeras said.

Cazeras is also battling leukemia and has been in the hospital for almost a year. He’s on track to graduate with his friends and is even getting better grades through the program.

“You have to do your work. … There’s not a guy (next to you) who you can copy off,” Cazeras joked.

Teachers even keep up with students’ schools back home, making sure they are doing the right work and keeping up with their classmates.

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