Teen patients at Children's Mercy won't miss prom night this year

April 13, 2018 - 6:53 am

Even if the "Enchantment Under the Sea" prom theme from "Back to the Future" is the only prom memory you have, you can rest assured that Friday night some local kids will make memories they will never forget.

Trista Williams is in charge of special events for Children's Mercy Hospital. It was her idea to plan the hospital's first prom. 

"At first I was like, is that a thing?" said 17-year-old Alyssa, above, of Liberty, who is being treated in-patient at the hospital. She was trying on dresses when she talked to E.J. and Ellen on the phone.

"I'm like a blue girl, so I was looking for blue dresses," Alyssa said. "There's lots to choose from." 

"There's not just only one dress in their size," Trista said. "They're coming in like they would go to a regular dress store, and they have plenty of options to choose from."

Hundreds of volunteers put out the word for donations of lightly-used prom dresses. They've been cleaned and sent to the hospital.

"They said on Friday, before the prom, they have people, like hair and makeup, all that stuff, coming up here," Alyssa said. "I'm super excited!"

The guys are covered, too. Tip Top Tux did fittings for tuxedoes. 

Ashton Martin, a local DJ, is providing the music. An event space company will take care of all the decorations. Some players from Sporting KC are dropping by for the party.

The theme is "A Night with the Stars."

"They said they're going to have a DJ and food and snacks, the whole nine yards," Alyssa said. "I think it's going to be like a regular prom."

The Children's Mercy prom is a good option for a young person whose health is too fragile to go out. Some kids, bald from chemotherapy, feel self-conscious around their regular friends. A touching story involves a boy at the hospital who was thrilled to invite his girlfriend to the prom. 

"His mom explained me that he wasn't somebody that would go to a social event at his own high school," Trista said. "She was so ecstatic that he was so excited to come."

Teenagers being teenagers, they tend to have more fun when their parents are not around, but the people at Children's Mercy did not want to take the event away from the moms and dads. They decided to live stream the prom, without sound or zoom lens, so the parents can see their kids, some of whom are very ill, have fun.

The Children's Mercy prom comes with the bittersweet knowledge that some of their patients may not live to see a prom at their own high school.

"They don't always get to be a teenager," Trista said. "They're always thinking about their disease and things like that, so they get to do what they're supposed to be doing at this age, at this time in their life."

"I just feel so beautiful when I'm all dressed up and have makeup on and everything," Alyssa said.

Trista Williams at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City is our Person of the Week for making sure the kids can make their own prom night memories.

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