Kansas City,
11:46 AM

Kansas City Star: Teens put on gowns and tuxes and get a special night

Children's Mercy patients get a prom of their own

by Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian

Taylor Scott and Alyssa Williamson, both 17, looked like Hollywood starlets ready to stroll the red carpet.

Their hair and makeup had been professionally done and each was dressed in a long glamorous gown. But unlike most teenage girls getting ready for prom, each had an intravenous needle poking from her hand and a hospital identification band around her wrist.

Trista Williams, child life program coordinator at Children’s Mercy, came up with the idea for a hospital prom eight months ago.

“I had a vision that I think we need a prom,” she said. “We have a lot of patients here who can’t go to their normal high school events, and we really wanted to do something special for them. They have chronic conditions that keep them home sick, or they’re in the hospital. So this is a way for them to go to a big life event that they’re missing because of their condition.”


That vision became reality Friday evening when about 30 teenagers entered a hospital activity room transformed into a space befitting its theme: “A Night With the Stars.” Landers Visions, an event production company, had covered the walls with gauzy fabric and installed a disco ball that sprinkled moving beads of colored light around the room.


Jennifer Bertrand, an HGTV star and local designer, emceed the event, there was a DJ, and Sporting KC players acted as dates. Patients could step outside and get their photos taken by Interstate Photography, pretty much like any other prom.

“Once people heard ‘Children’s Mercy Prom’ we had so many people say, ‘What can we do to be a part of it? What can we do to help?’" Williams said. "I could not do it without all these people. The deejay, the photographers, they’re all here on their own time."


Read the full story and see a video via the Kansas City Star.

Learn more about the Child Life department at Children's Mercy.