Hiram high school student dies weeks after collapsing at graduation: 'She just fought through'

The mother of a Hiram High School student who collapsed at her graduation and died just a couple of weeks later tells FOX 5 Atlanta that her daughter showed incredible strength and perseverance at that ceremony.

"She’s still smiling," said Saevon Chum, mother of 18-year-old Sienna Stewart, as she re-watched the video of her daughter walking at graduation.

"Seeing her smiling was everything," Chum said.

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That’s because her daughter had just gone through a terrifying ordeal.

The Hiram High School graduation ceremony on May 23 stopped abruptly when Sienna Stewart fell unconscious.

In a video of the graduation that the high school posted on YouTube, the principal announced, "just give us a second please, we have a student, just give us a second…"

You can then hear school staff calling for Sienna's mother.

"When I got there, the ambulance was already there. She had collapsed. She had had another episode. But this was the first time she collapsed unconscious," Chum said.

Thankfully, after a few minutes, her daughter regained consciousness.

Chum and the paramedics wanted to take her to the hospital, but through tears, Chum says Sienna begged her to let her walk across the stage. 

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(Credit: Hiram High School, YouTube)

"All she could tell me is, ‘I just want to graduate, I want to walk.' That's all she wanted, because she already missed her prom, because before then she was in the hospital and missed her senior prom," Chum said. 

She says her daughter was diagnosed with severe cardiomyopathy at age four.

Luckily, she was able to get a heart transplant when she was eight, which Chum says allowed her to live a relatively normal life for 10 years. \

But then in April of this year, Chum says, "she was diagnosed with heart failure. Her heart transplant heart was getting sick. It was getting weak and slowing down." 

She says that ultimately led to Sienna’s collapse. 

But Sienna was determined to get the diploma she had worked so hard for, and she was able to do it without any help.

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Sienna Stewart (Photo supplied by family)

"It was a scary moment at graduation, but she was a tough cookie ever since she was little. She was just so tough. She was just strength and resilience, she was just so strong," Chum said.

Just two weeks later, Sienna collapsed again. 

"You’re just holding your daughter, your child, and you have to do that 911 call not knowing if your daughter's going to wake up or not," Chum said. 

Chum showed FOX 5 Atlanta a video of Sienna in the hospital after that episode, where she seemed to be recovering.

But just a few days later, she passed away at the hospital on June 12.

Sienna Stewart (Photo supplied by family)

"They asked if I’d known that she'd had a sick heart for a while. I say ‘yes,’ but you know, you're never going to be ready to lose your child," she said.

Chum says in spite of her heart literally shutting down, Sienna showed everyone how strong she really was.

"As a mom, you feel so proud because she just fought through something that hurts her. You have to be proud. Till the end, I was proud," she said.

The family will be holding a funeral service for Sienna on Sunday.