A Magical Promingdales Moment

April 22, 2019
Topics: Donors, Riley Kid Story, Cancer (oncology)

promingdales image
Kennedy Wittkamper at Promingdales

Fifteen-year-old Kennedy Wittkamper from Tipton, Ind., can’t help but smile as she turns from side to side, looking at her reflection in the mirror. Her floor-length peach gown sparkles as it catches the light. Although this moment is happening inside Riley Hospital for Children, there are no doctors, needles or procedures today. The scarf covering Kennedy’s head is the only reminder of the cancer she has been battling since last October. Her mother puts her hands on her face and fights back tears. “You’re so beautiful,” she tells Kennedy.

This is the magic of Promingdales. Women for Riley, a philanthropic group within Riley Children’s Foundation, creates this free boutique at Riley Hospital each year. Their goal is to make sure every guest invited to the Riley Cancer Center Family Prom feels like royalty. Patients, siblings, parents and guardians have the chance to choose from hundreds of complimentary gowns, shoes, tuxedo rentals and accessories, all donated by generous local businesses. Members of Women for Riley work tirelessly to create the pop-up boutique. They serve as personal shoppers, helping each guest find their perfect prom attire.

After Kennedy chooses her gown, Women for Riley volunteers help her try on jewelry, including a sparkling tiara to wear over her head scarf. “We should probably save this for someone else,” Kennedy tells her mom, Holly. Sweet selflessness seems to be part of Kennedy’s DNA. “She is the kindest person, inside and out,” says Holly. “I have to give her shots in her stomach every day for her treatment, and she always tells me ‘thank you.’” 

The Women for Riley volunteers are struck by Kennedy’s sweetness, calling her a “gift.” But for Kennedy, her parents, and her three brothers, this entire Promingdales experience has also been a gift. “I think it’s a really cool setup and I’m glad I get to do it,” says Kennedy in a soft voice. As the Wittkamper family prepares to leave Promingdales with their fairy-tale outfits in hand for the Riley Cancer Center Family Prom on May 3, Kennedy shares this message with Women for Riley: “I want to say ‘thank you’ because it’s really special.”

Click here to learn more about Women for Riley

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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