POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. -- Fridays in the fall are made for high school football -- the crisp cool air, the lights, the pomp and circumstance.
The game is often secondary to a greater celebration -- a chance to acknowledge moments and people like Lauren Parks.
“It's exciting,” she said. On Friday night, the junior relished the chance to be on the homecoming court at Hillgrove High in Powder Springs. “I was shocked and I was surprised,” she said.
Lauren remembered that day three weeks ago, getting the news she had been nominated while in a hospital bed. The next day, her leg was amputated due to a complication from a prior fight with cancer.
“It was time to take that step and take off my leg,” she said.
Not even a month has gone by since that time, and here she is with makeup on and in a beautiful gown. She’s having photos taken with family and friends, who are encouraged by her strength.
“She just said, ‘Daddy, it's just a body part’,” her dad told 11Alive.
Lauren's smile never left her face as she rolled through the homecoming parade -- her first time returning to school since the surgery.
“Having to go through that and be on the homecoming court like three weeks after is just crazy,” she said.
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Her mom Lisa believes she's an inspiration to those who face challenges. “They can do whatever they want to in life,” she said.
On homecoming night, walking onto the field with her father, Lauren was recognized as the junior class favorite. In that way, Lauren should be an inspiration to everyone -- a girl who plans to live life the same way, no matter what it throws her way.