Grandchildren's Early Graduation Ceremony Delights Osceola Woman

Katy Claire and Charlie

Katie Morgan and her husband, Charlie, are lifelong residents of Osceola and in her 84 years, Katie has rarely been ill. But in the spring of 2021, she began having unusual stomach and back pain. She saw her chiropractor, who advised she see her doctor. Tests showed several abnormalities, with a diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer. She was given three months to live, and became a patient of EveryStep Hospice on June 16, while at Clarke County Hospital. When she returned home on June 25, EveryStep and Osceola EveryStep social worker Tonya Pierson followed her. 

“When I did the hospice admission, I asked what, if anything, was on her bucket list,” says Tonya. “She was tearful and said she wanted to see her grandchildren, cousins Claire and Charlie, graduate from Iowa State; however, that wouldn’t happen until May of 2022. Katy told me, ‘I won’t be here then.’” Tonya says she loves to help patients with their wishes or bucket lists, so she decided to see how she could put together a graduation. 

Tonya called EveryStep CEO and president Tray Wade, who in turn reached out to EveryStep supporters – and ISU fans – George and Deb Milligan. The Milligans got in touch with ISU senior associate athletic director for external relations Frank Nogel, who offered to loan caps, gowns, diplomas, and diploma covers that ISU sometimes uses for photo shoots with athletes.

On June 26, Katie’s wish was fulfilled by EveryStep Hospice. “About a dozen of my family members were at my home visiting with me when my daughter said, ‘Mom, look toward the stairs.’ Walking in their caps and gowns, with ISU diplomas in hand, Claire and Charlie stood in front of me and said, ‘Grandma, you have seen us graduate!’” Katie says she broke down in tears, “It was about more than I could take, but oh, how beautiful! Nobody but (EveryStep) hospice did that for me. They do wonderful things and are very, very nice people.” 

On July 3, nearly 20 family members and friends joined Katie to celebrate her 84th birthday. She says it was especially fun because it was a celebration of Claire’s and Charlie’s graduation, as well. Her next goal is to celebrate her 64th wedding anniversary with her husband, Charlie, on July 12. “That’s another thing that I want to do, and I believe I will.”

To support meaningful moments like Katie’s special day, please give to EveryStep’s non-profit mission at