Teen patients attend prom at Jackson Memorial Hospital

MIAMI (WSVN) - Many teenagers dream of the night they attend their own proms. For patients at the Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Medical Center, that dream came true on Friday.

“I was so excited,” said promgoer Stephanie Tinoco. “I like getting pampered.”

Volunteers from multiple charities and schools throughout Miami-Dade County offered their time to help these teenagers have one of the best nights of their lives

“We’ve been doing prom for about five years now,” said Pediatric Nurse Coordinator Kim Juanico.

Juanico described the event from its inception, to how it became what it was today.

“The students at Miami Country Day School came to me with the idea. They thought it would be fun for the kids to be able to experience something that they always get to experience,” she said. “So the idea took off and we built on it year-to-year. The kids get full makeovers, the weeks before prom, they get to pick out their outfits — the parents get involved as well. And then they come, they have professional photography, great food, a DJ — everything a normal teenager would experience at their own prom.”

All of the dresses and suits worn by the teens were donated by Jackson Memorial Hospital employees before the event.

“Just seeing the looks on all these kids’ faces, ’cause most of them are stuck in the hospital, unfortunately,” said student organizer Isabella Allen. “They want to get out, they just can’t and it kind of gives them a little piece of normality.”

Those participating in the fun get a different view of their hospital, trading exams and medication for loud music and lots of laughs.

Some revelers expressed their gratitude toward those responsible for putting together the annual bash.

“It’s really nice of them because, there’s some people, like me, that had the opportunity to go to prom but never actually went to prom, so to actually experience this is awesome,” Tinoco said.

Past patients who themselves went to the prom are now offering their help and support, but more importantly, hope.

“I was there once eight years ago. Today I’m an eight-year cancer survivor, and it brings back memories,” said former patient Cynthia Lau. “I did attend events like this when I was in the hospital, so for me to be able to come back and be helping today, it gives me the hope that one day, they’ll be me and realize that they are warriors and we are here for them.”

Each annual prom has its own theme. This year’s theme was “Winter Wonderland.”

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