Terminally Ill Teens Celebrate Special Prom Night

The Ebell in Los Angeles rolled out the red carpet for a night of smiles and dancing

By Samantha Tata and Sean Browning
|  Friday, Jun 21, 2013  |  Updated 11:04 AM PDT
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Young patients battling life-threatening illnesses swapped hospital gowns for ball gowns Thursday night for a prom thrown just for them. Raw video from the June 20, 2013 event at The Ebell in Los Angeles.

Young patients battling life-threatening illnesses swapped hospital gowns for ball gowns Thursday night for a prom thrown just for them. Raw video from the June 20, 2013 event at The Ebell in Los Angeles.

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Young patients battling life-threatening illnesses swapped hospital gowns for ball gowns Thursday night for a prom thrown just for them.

“It’s nice to be around kids that understand what we’re going through,” said Lorena Herrera, who has kidney disease.

Prom attendees walked a red carpet, danced under twinkling lights, wore corsages made of balloon “flowers,” and took quintessential prom photos by a flowing fountain.

“For many attendees, the No Worries Now Prom is the one night a year they can just be kids,” said Marta Belcher, No Worries Now’s executive director.

“Prom is a milestone that many of them would otherwise not be able to experience—either because of rigorous treatment schedules or because they will not live long enough.”

LA-based No Worries Now was founded in 2006 by a then-15-year-old boy who lost his best friend to bone cancer. Some 20 teens attended the organization’s first No Worries Prom in 2006. The special – and free – event has grown to San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

Thursday’s “Evening in Venice”-themed prom was held at The Ebell of Los Angeles from 7 to 11 p.m.

No Worries Now matches patients with volunteers from LA-area colleges to go on monthly outings meant to "spread the feelings of normalcy and joy" that patients experience at the annual proms. For details on how to become a volunteer, click here.

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