UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital holds prom for sick teens

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It's prom season, but some students never make it to the big party because they're fighting life threatening illnesses. (KGO-TV )

It's prom season, but some students never make it to the big party because they're fighting life threatening illnesses.

A Bay Area children's hospital stepped in to bring some normalcy to these young patients.

Prom is a rite of passage for high schoolers, but a lot of the teenagers are forced to miss the event.

Iris Vandalen has Crohn's disease and she spent the past six years in and out of the hospital for surgeries and treatment.

"Being in the hospital all the time you miss so many normal, high school, teenager things," Vandalen said.

But on Friday night she's was just a normal teenager taking a date to the prom, but instead of a school gymnasium, the dance is at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital at Mission Bay.

All their teenage patients are invited. Some came directly from their rooms.

"You get to meet so many lifelong friends and people that understand you in ways that nobody else can," Vandalen said.

There's a DJ, dance floor, popcorn and face-painting. 49ers football players, including starting safety Eric Reid, posed for pictures. They escorted guests down a red carpet.

"We're all people. We're all in this life together and to be able to help one another that's what it's all about," Reid said.

This is the sixth year UCSF has thrown a prom. Staff members call it a labor of love, with the help of volunteers and donated dresses to make sure patients look and feel beautiful.

"They can actually select clothing that has been donated to UCSF for them to choose. And then the day of they get their hair done and their makeup done," said Micahel Towne of UCSf Child Life Services.

Nearly 300 people showed up for an unforgettable night.
Related Topics:
healthUCSFteenagershigh schoolpromdanceSan Francisco 49ersillnessSan Francisco
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