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Lymphoma and Pets
Not Your Average Prom: Big Night for Children's Blood and Cancer Center
In the minds of most, prom season ends in the spring. Not at Dell Children's Hospital.
Last Saturday, as the day cooled into night, the hospital's Signe Auditorium was transformed from a drab multi-purpose facility into a prom of Hawaiian proportions complete with kids in formalwear, hula dancers in grass skirts, aromatic flowers, and a slight twist on that luau staple, the pig roast.
This was Hungry Bunch Prom 2013, and it was both like and unlike any prom you've ever seen.
The Hungry Bunch is the teen support group for cancer patients at the Children's Blood and Cancer Center at Dell Children's, and this was their prom.
On arrival, attendees received authentic leis. Fragrant and fragile, they had been shipped overnight from Hawaii—just one of many spectacular aspects of this prom, made possible by sponsoring organizations including the Jennifer Wilks Foundation, Superhero Kids, the Kelly Davidson Pediatric Cancer Foundation and the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Several local businesses also contributed. Austin's Aveda Institute hosted a primping party that afternoon to see to all the hair, make-up and mani-pedi needs; the Austin Fairy Godmother Foundation saw to it that every girl got just the right dress for the evening; and the night was emceed by JB Hager of 94.7 FM, one half of the JB and Sandy Morning Show. Tireless volunteers did the rest.
This sensational cake was made by the folks at the Bountiful Bakery & Café, who also run the Loving Libbie Memorial Foundation.
Teens battling cancer and other blood disorders often miss their own prom. They might be in mid-treatment and feeling too run down, or they may have lost their hair from chemotherapy or radiation.
They may have been too immunosuppressed to safely attend, or they may have simply missed so much school time that they feel out of the social loop.
This prom gives these kids the night to remember that illness tried to deny them.
Kids with cancer lead extraordinary lives. Their vocabularies include terms like, "chest port," "vincristine infusion" and "lumbar puncture." Instead of surrounding themselves with the usual trappings of adolescence, they're surrounded by chemotherapy and radiation, by health pros poking and prodding them. Events like the Hungry Bunch prom give them a precious few hours to forget about their illnesses, to surround themselves with friends and smiles, and for the first time in maybe a long while, feel ordinary.
[All photo credits: Ross Bonander, except pig cake, credit: CBCC]