Kansas City,
09:09 AM

Shawnee Mission Post: Overland Park teen perseveres through health challenges to graduate high school early

By Greg Echlin

For Gunar Reed, 17, life has been anything but routine.

The mere thought of an early graduation ceremony Wednesday night for the SM West High School senior had been a “big, big thing” for weeks, according to his mom, Shana Reed of Overland Park.

For Gunar, better known to family and friends as “G-Man,” his late-January graduation — a special circumstance accommodated by SM West administrators — was a big deal.

So far in his young life, he has endured 36 surgeries, including three open-heart procedures. And he’s uncertain about what’s in store for the future.

Gunar was born with four heart defects, and his parents Shana and David knew the youngest of their three kids would be in for some stiff challenges.

Except for kindergarten, Gunar Reed has been homebound during the course of his schooling.

The Reed family moved from Salina to the Kansas City area almost 13 years ago to be closer to Children’s Mercy Hospital, where Gunar required frequent medical care.

Through it all Gunar has managed to remain connected with others. His mother says he is a social butterfly who loves making others happy. 

Wednesday’s special ceremony at SM West included not only Gunar receiving his diploma but also an official signing to attend K-State.

Following the moment where Gunar threw his mortarboard into the air, he and his family and the small, masked crowd in attendance watched a video montage of encouraging messages from K-State football players.


Read the full story via Shawnee Mission Post

Learn how you can Help Our Kids