Young patients with serious illnesses get special prom treatment

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 18 at 10:16 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Dozens of kids got a chance to attend a prom like no other.

Children's Hospital held its annual Prom of Champions on Friday in the Central Business District. The stars of the night were young patients battling serious illness.

"I heard it's going to be fun, and it's fun!"

Limos, a stretch hummer and even a streetcar -- these special guests were dropped off in style.

On the list: Shanika Holmes, who was flanked by both her sister and best friend. Many of these kids are fighting cancer or blood disorders.

Organizers say 150 kids attended the big event, half of them patients.

"My mama thought it was arthritis because I kept complaining about my arms and my legs," said Holmes.

A few hours before prom, the 7th grader was being dolled up at the hospital that's become her second home. A leukemia diagnosis is why she is forced to regularly travel between Greensburg and New Orleans.

"When I come every month, they'll check my vital signs, draw blood and see if my immune system and everything is higher," said Holmes.

"She looks beautiful! She looks great. I'm going to have to buy her a makeup bag now," said Shanika's aunt, Sandra Travis.

The 14-year-old joined other girls like herself before heading to the party. They had their hair teased and make up applied by an army of volunteers.

The excitement reached a climax after a limo ride and red carpet moment -- a chance, even if just few a hours, for these kids to leave their worries behind and be a kid.

"It's important to us because we have to deal with everything else. I think we should have a break," said Holmes.

Organizers say 60 volunteers and 50 sponsors helped make Prom of Champions possible.

If you'd like to help out next year, click here for more information.

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