Riley Prom: A Magical Night Under the Sea

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Bella Simons, Carmel, Ind., attending the 2017 Riley Cancer Center Prom with her parents

The Riley Cancer Center Prom this year was amazing! For starters, a few days before the prom, my mother and I got to pick out dresses, shoes, and accessories for the prom, and my father got to pick out a tuxedo. It was so much fun! I tried on several dresses until I found the perfect one: It was a beautiful shade of purple, long and ruffly- perfect for a princess. I found shoes to match, and accessories as well. When I looked in the mirror, I just knew- this was the dress for me. It was completely perfect.    

Soon it was the day of the Riley Prom, and I was so excited! We arrived and the room was adorned with beautiful decorations. The under-the-sea theme was so fun! Before hitting the dance floor, my mother and I got to pick out Kendra Scott jewelry, which was a real treat. Next we got corsages to match our dresses and then we were ready to party!  

My father, mother and I got a tasty dinner of pizza and later got some delicious desserts, including a fountain of chocolate fondue! (That was a favorite of mine). After eating we hit the dance floor and had the best time! We danced to the “cupid shuffle,” and other favorites. I tried to teach my parents how to “juju on that beat,” with mild success. All around the dance floor, parents spun their little princesses around, and it was a lovely sight to see. Everyone had a great time.

A special moment was when the prom king and queen were chosen from a list of nurses and doctors. The names of the king and queen were announced and everyone crowded around to see them dance. It was beautiful. 

One of my favorite things about the prom was that there was something for everyone. Little kids could play games and win prizes, guests could get temporary tattoos, and everyone loved making song requests. It was so fun to take pictures at the photo booth! The printed pictures gave me a chance to capture the moment and remember the evening! At the prom, everyone was free to be themselves. There was no fear of judgement and we could even be silly! Everyone loved dancing, and even the adults let loose like no one was watching.  

That prom was magical. I felt so joyful at the Riley Prom! It was a day where I could just take a break from medical battles and enjoy myself with my family. It was a celebration of Riley kids. It was a celebration of us. I saw little girls with glitter in their hair, dancing around and having the time of their lives. I saw parents, delighted to see the huge smiles on their children’s faces, after having seen them suffer so much. I saw young boys, who were dancing their socks off.

After enduring such pain, these kids were smiling like little kids should. I also saw my parents dancing with me, and it meant the world. We held hands as we danced to the music and I just loved the feeling of togetherness. My favorite part of the prom was being together with my family. After brain surgery, radiation, and oxygen therapy, that we all went through together, we were finally sharing one perfect moment. No treatment, no risks, no fear. Just us together, celebrating, smiling, and yes, dancing, under the shine of the disco ball. The whole time I felt joy. Complete and blissful joy. Now that is what I call a perfect moment.  

Thank you so much to Women for Riley for organizing this wonderful event for Riley kids like me.

Bella Simons

Bella Simons is a 2017 Riley Champion. A junior at Carmel High School, Bella loves giving back. She is very active in Project Sunshine and helps by making craft kits for hospitalized kids.

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