More than anything, high-school senior Alyssia wanted to go to her prom. And she knew just the dress she wanted to wear – a gorgeous, long, white-and-gold designer dress by Tarik Ediz. She had been staring at it through a computer screen for more than a year, trying to save up for it. And if you know anything about the cost of a designer gown…well, let’s just say most brides come down the aisle in something less expensive.
As her fierce battle with leukemia raged right up to the week before the prom, her dream was about as far away as it could be. No dress, no dance, stuck in the hospital. That’s when Team Summer kid Maylee stepped in. Even though the four-year old didn’t really understand exactly what a prom was, she knew she wanted to cheer up her hospital buddy.
So Team Summer went to work. It was all a little crazy, given Alyssia’s situation, but when a girl dreams of a prom dress…well, we just had to find it. And thus began a nation-wide search for the right dress in the right size. After a bunch of calls, we found it…in New York City!
Now it was time to surprise Alyssia! By this time, pretty much the entire hospital staff had heard about the dress and showed up to watch.
Draped in a purple blanket (Summer’s favorite color!), Alyssia thought she was being escorted to her gazillionth x-ray. When she turned the corner, she had no idea why so many people were waiting for her!
Maylee’s mom helped explain that she was about to get a Team Summer gift!
Then, with Maylee’s help, out came the dress…rolling in on an IV pole, of course! Alyssia could not believe her eyes. It was the dress of her dreams! The EXACT dress! Stunned, she turned to her mom and asked incredulously, “Is that THE dress?” Blinking back tears, her mom nodded yes.
Now there was just one teensy little thing to work out – actually going to the prom. With the prom now only two days away, it became clear that it was just too dangerous to Alyssia’s health to leave the hospital. But that did not deter the amazing staff at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta. Here’s what they did on the big day:
First, they brought in makeup artists from Spa Sydell….because every girl deserves to be pampered on her prom day!
Isn’t Alyssia starting to look a little different from the girl wrapped up in the purple blanket?!
Then CHOA arranged for a DJ from morning radio program The Bert Show to set up shop in a classroom on the first floor of the hospital. He lowered the lights and added a disco ball for atmosphere. And Maggiano’s catered Italian food and the Taylor Brooks Foundation supplied the decorations!
And here she is! Alyssia’s dad got the first dance! Okay, so THAT doesn’t usually happen at the prom!
Then Alyssia’s wonderful friends started arriving, stopping by on their way to the actual prom, and things got festive! The music was loud, the food was awesome, and Alyssia was surrounded by people who love her.
No, it wasn’t the real prom, but thanks to Team Summer kid Maylee, who started all this with a desire to help, and the incredible staff at CHOA, what could have been one of the saddest nights of Alyssia’s life turned out to be positively joyful! And that’s what Team Summer is all about…kids helping kids with cancer… one special moment at a time.