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A prom to remember

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Prom is usually an event most teens place on their calendar. They go, they dance, and they take lots of pictures to remember of their special night. But what if you face a life threatening illness that puts all that at risk? A Prom to Remember is the foundation that makes prom a possibility for teens with cancer that wouldn't have the chance to go.  This foundation, like a ray of sunlight, began in Ft. Lauderdale and then came to Cleveland.  A Prom to Remember foundation is catching on in other cities and hoping to spread to more.

The foundation provides the ultimate experience for teens that were effected by cancer. A Prom to remember gives teens with cancer an event to look forward to. Jane was inspired by her daughter's experience working with A Prom to Remember in Ft. Lauderdale and started the Northeast Ohio chapter with her husband. Both own an events business and a photography studio so this was a natural extension for them.

We strive to give them the ultimate prom.  We want to them a Hollywood experience attending prom. They get a red carpet and dresses and Mom does not worry about what things cost. Tuxes and beautiful dresses are provided and the teens get picked up by limo and chauffeured to a red carpet entrance to the Ritz-Carlton. Many items and services, including the Ritz-Carlton are donations. 

We've had about 150 attending prom including dates and guests. As far as chaperone's the hospital staff is chaperones, in case anything happens.  This is a quiet area for kids when they become tired. If they need a break from all the activity, we have a photo booth for them, a character artist; the dance studio dances a number and dances with the kids. This is not a regular prom where everyone goes to the same school and knows each other. Maybe they know each other from the hospital, but they are not on a daily basis in touch with each other, however this fact doesn't seem to make a difference to the teens. They all are able to mix and have a great time together.

There is entertainment for teens that don't like to dance or can't dance.  St. Ignatius goes table to table and does magic, and new this year Microsoft is sending tablets for kids to interact and stay entertained when not dancing.  Jane said, "There's a little boy, he is in a wheelchair and last year, he had his lap full from collecting everything. He was in the photo booth, he had all the pictures, and he had autographs. He had his picture drawn by the character artist and candy from the candy table."

Jake Greeves, in remission from Leukemia, speaks about his first year attending this Hollywood style prom. "I had the most fun because it was something I had never done and me and one of the patients there, we became friends and it was fun."

Truly A Prom to Remember, is a night to remember and heartwarming. Jane reflects on last year's Prom to Remember, "When you see the big smiles on their faces, that just does it." Jane especially likes seeing some of the kids from last year returning. Remembering one girl who attended the Prom both years Jane says "the first year, she did not have hair, and last year she had beautiful curls. "

The essence of this event is the chance to see these teens with smiles on their faces. For those who help put the evening together and bring it to life, like Jane the look to see the same smiling faces, like Jake Greeves, return year after year. Jane says, "That is what we look for. That's just a good feeling." Repeat attendance to this prom is also a good sign that these teens made it another year.

A Prom to Remember is a non profit organization. Volunteers and support are always welcome; during prom night and throughout the year.  Click here to visit A Prom to Remember's web site for more information or call (440) 255-7593.

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