My Riley Prom as "Cotton Candy Queen"

May 11, 2015
Topics: Donors, Cancer (oncology)

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Julia McCallum as the Cotton Candy Queen at this year's Riley Cancer Center Prom

On Friday, May 1st, 2015, Women for Riley and Riley Children’s Foundation hosted the sixth annual Riley Cancer Center Prom for the oncology and stem cell department patients and families. This year, the theme was “Under the Big Top” and the main floor of Fairbanks Hall was converted to a magical myriad of rooms ranging from the Cotton Candy Quiet Room to the Big Top tent that covered the dance floor. 

The night held opportunities for patients and families to have dinner together, to have formal photographs taken together, to dance together, and to simply celebrate being together. The Prom provided the chance to put their illnesses and struggles aside, to smile, and to feel like their lives were worry-free for the evening. 

This year I experienced the prom from a unique perspective—I was transformed from being a middle-aged mother of five to a beautiful “Cotton Candy Queen” adorned in pink tulle from head to toe.  At first, I self-consciously took my place in the atrium to quickly find myself as mesmerized as the children were as we looked around and discovered the magic in the evening.

I saw smiles, a few tears, lots of laughter and so much love. With my involvement over the past several years, I have felt satisfied believing that we provided a special evening to these precious patients and their families. I always hope that each person creates a memory or two that they can hold on to. 

Every year, I walk away feeling blessed from the experience. This year, my cup runneth over. I realized that the evening was a tremendous success for everyone involved. For one night, “under the big top,” we all forgot what brought us together and we simply laughed and danced the night away. 

Click here to watch our 2015 Riley Prom video.

Julia McCallum

Julia McCallum serves as the Co-President for Women for Riley. She has been a member for the group for four years and resides in Zionsville with her husband, Kevin, and their five children.

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