Queena Phu finally had her magical prom, a night that was meant to happen nine years ago.
In 2008, Phu was the victim of a brutal attack and sexual assault when she was a senior in high school. The attack happened outside Bloomingdale Regional Public Library in Valrico, Florida. Phu suffered severe brain damage and was left paralyzed and unable to speak. She was only one week away from her prom.
Phu's best friend, Bloomingdale High School senior Derrick Perez, asked her to prom with a sweet "prom-posal." According to Anna Donato, Phu's sister, the two met three years ago and became friends right away.
Rape Survivor Asked to Prom Nine Years After Attack
As prom night approached, members of the community stepped in with donations. A seamstress altered Phu's gown from nine years ago, Bloomingdale High School donated her prom ticket, an anonymous donor gave $250 for shoes and accessories and a makeup artist and hair stylist volunteered their services.
On the night of prom, Perez showed up looking dapper in a tuxedo and a fresh haircut. Phu smiled radiantly in her beautiful gown, ready to celebrate the night she had waited for since 2008. A crowd of well-wishers gathered outside and cheered them on as the best friends left for prom.
Phu, Perez and Donato had a night to remember, taking many pictures and dancing the night away. What made the night extra special for Perez was the community coming together to make prom happen for his best friend.
"It was moving to see that not only the teacher and myself were in on giving Queena the most awesome prom experience, but also the students," said Perez. "Overall it was an amazing night that I don't think any of us will ever forget!"