UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in SF and Oakland hold special prom for teens: 'Very heartwarming'

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Saturday, May 4, 2024
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital holds special prom for teens
Some teens with serious medical conditions were able to experience all the fun and festivities of prom-- thanks to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For one night, some teens with serious medical conditions were able to experience all the fun and festivities of prom-- thanks to the hard work and generosity of staff and volunteers at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals in Oakland and San Francisco.

The decorations, the desserts, the dancing...and all the pictures.

It's all part of prom--something that so many teens look forward to.

"I'm really excited. This is my first prom," said 16-year-old Koda Eclevia.

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland have been transformed into a special place for some special teens-- many of them dealing with serious medical conditions.

"I was a patient here. I was here just over five months. And was going through a lot of care and learning to manage all the chronic conditions that I have," said 22-year old Cait Joseph who is now part of the Youth Advisory Council.

On this Friday night, patients and former patients put those health concerns aside. Some of them get a little extra attention--thanks to community donations and volunteers.

"They get pick out a dress, they get to get their makeup done, they get to have their hair done before they come down and enjoy prom," said Gina Ditto, a school teacher at the hospital and the chair of the prom committee.

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They get to head down the red carpet and take it all in.

"When they go in, they're a little bit nervous. And when they come out, you see these huge smiles. And it's very heartwarming," said Ditto.

"These teens get to be teens, having the blast that is prom--dancing away the night," said Michael Towne, Child Life Services Manager at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco.

Koda Eclevia, 16, is wearing his cool kicks. Alessia Gonzalez is wearing that special dress in her favorite color-purple.

It's a night to be with someone they care about, to have fun.

"I'm very excited to be here in this opportunity that UCSF provided for us," said Gonzalez.

This year's prom theme:

"It's a Yule Ball, inspired by the Harry Potter movie. So it's going to be dark, mysterious and magical," said Towne.

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Staff and volunteers say every prom at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is special. This year is even more so.

"We're so happy to be back in person and after COVID. And it feels really magical this year because we've been able to increase the number of teens coming to prom as well," said Ditto.

The hope-this special prom is memorable for those who go and inspirational for those who continue help.

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