NOBLE — Just hours before Steffanie Collings got into a limousine to go to her high school graduation on Thursday, she was at the hospital getting a radiation treatment. The 18-year-old was determined not to let her cancer, doctors or pain keep her from graduating from Noble High. When she was in eighth grade, doctors discovered she had a brain tumor and were able to remove it. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments were deemed successful, but during her junior year of high school, cancer was discovered in her spine. Tracy Collings said her daughter wanted to walk across the stage to get her diploma, but she had to be pushed in a wheelchair. Still, she reached her goal: she received her diploma along with the rest of her classmates.
‘Steffanie's Bill'Steffanie Collings and her family have another goal. They want the Oklahoma Legislature to pass "Steffanie's Bill.” Sponsored by the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation, the bill would require insurance providers to cover the cost of treatment provided to cancer patients like Steffanie Collings who participate in clinical trials when traditional treatments are not working. "Something needs to be done,” she said. "A lot of kids are dying because they can't afford treatments.”
Becoming a nurseThe graduate said she wants to use her struggle with cancer to help other people who have been affected by the disease and plans to become a nurse. She completed a nursing program at Mid-America Vocational Center and is waiting to see if she gets accepted to the licensed practical nurse program. "I feel like I can do a better job than some of the nurses that helped me, because I've had experience and have been in that type of atmosphere.”
Steffanie Collings participates in Noble High School's graduation Thursday at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN