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

KMBZ Person of the Week

Kansas City's Morning News
April 13, 2018 - 6:53 am

A hospital is not exactly where one expects to find a prom. Yet on Friday April 13th, teens will be dressed to the nines at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City for the first ever Children's Mercy Prom.

Trista Williams is in charge of special events and 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 (pictured above) who is an in-patient at the hospital. The Liberty teen 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.

 And that's why Trista Williams is our Person of the Week, for making Prom Night come true.

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