Teen patients at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital were treated to their very own prom Friday night.
Dozens of past and present patients, ages 13 to 19, were moving and dancing at the Hollywood Premiere Night in the hospital’s auditorium.
‘It’s been really hard for them to miss these big events in their life, and it’s hard enough as it is being a teenager in the hospital, but to miss these big events that you really look forward to your whole life, growing up, it can be real hard for them,” said Shannon Bajwa, a certified child life specialist at the hospital.
The hospital pulled out all the stops, filling the room with balloons and hiring an artist who drew caricatures of the teens.
Hooters sponsored the event, sending employees wearing sashes to help the teens ring in the night.
The moment was just as special for hospital staffers.
“We work with these patients day in and day out, and we see what they go through,” Bajwa said. “We see their ups, we see their downs, and this is one of their ups, and we’re able to see them enjoying life and being their normal selves.”
But before partying the night away, the girls in the group got to enjoy a day full of preparation, getting all dolled up. They got manicures and makeup.
And all the kids got to trade in their hospital gowns to dress up for at least one night.
“It makes us feel good that they care enough to put something like like this together,” said one prom attendee. “We really appreciate it, we’re fixing to have a good time, you know. God is good.”
Another attendee, getting her hair and makeup done before the big night, said, “It’s an amazing hospital. The staff is outstanding. They welcome you. They make you feel like family.”
And sometimes, they make you feel like the prom king or queen you always dreamed you’d be.