2 Lee County High School students attend prom despite medical battles

Both students were barred from attending the prom due to having too many missed school days as a result of medical treatments.
Published: May. 14, 2023 at 4:15 PM EDT|Updated: May. 14, 2023 at 7:35 PM EDT
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LEESBURG, Ga. (WALB) - Two Lee County high schoolers were able to go to prom after enduring their own medical battles.

The Lee County High School principal did not allow Matthew English and Collier Savelle to attend prom due to missing too many school days. Both English and Savelle missed several school days because of their personal medical battles.

English was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called epithelioid sarcoma which starts as a growth of cells in the soft tissue.

The cancer resulted in his arm getting amputated in February.

“I just do on my normal routine and I try not to think about how I’m doing all that stuff,” Matthew said.

English was awarded an unknown amount of money from Cancer Ties and the money will go towards his prosthetic arm. English is currently getting fitted for a prosthetic arm. The English family is like a second family for Carrie Hutchinson, Executive Director for Cancer Ties.

“It just felt wrong going from celebrating Matthew with the struggles that he’s gone through to almost feeling like a punishment. From just getting to experience something that everybody gets to experience,” Hutchinson said.

Lee County students and parents put pressure on the school on social media in the days leading up to prom.

With a few hours left before prom, the school reversed its decision. Lee County High School did not respond yet to a request for comment.

“I’m very excited for him. All of our family just texting in the group so excited. We’re happy for him because we knew that’s a big step for him,” Matthew’s mother Ronnie English said.

Matthew’s brother, Chandler, said prom was big for Matthew’s confidence with his new normal. Matthew’s mother has seen his friends come back and support him even if he’s not at school.

“The community rallied around and… We’re just blessed. We were very happy he was able to go. It made it a very happy Mother’s Day,” Ronnie said.

Matthew said he had fun at prom. He plans to be back at school for his senior year.

Savelle’s family did not want to make a comment.