FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Teen patients at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital were treated to their own special prom Friday night.
Dozens of past and present patients — ages 13 to 19 — attended the Hollywood Premier Night.
The event was held at Joe DiMaggio’s auditorium. “It’s been really hard for them to miss these big events in their life ,” said Shannon Bajwa, a certified child life specialist. “It’s hard enough 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 very hard for them.”
The hospital pulled out all the stops, filling the room with balloons and hiring an artist to draw caricatures of the teens. Hooters sponsored the event and sent employees wearing sashes to help the teens ring in the night.
The moment was just as special for the 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, girls got to enjoy a day full of preparation. “As you can see, everyone’s busy getting ready for their prom,” Bajwa said. “The mood is very happy, very exciting. Everyone is ready for this event.”
Attendees were able to get their hair and makeup done, along with manicures. Each teen traded 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 this together,” said one teen. “We really appreciate it, and we’re gonna have a good time, you know. God is good.”
Other teens are also grateful for the event. “It’s an amazing hospital. The staff is outstanding, they welcome you, they make you feel like family,” said one girl.
This was the first annual prom at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and they hope there are more proms in the years to come.
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