Children's Former and Current Cancer and Blood Disorder Patients Attend a “Midnight Masquerade”

Reuters and Aurora Sentinel

Former and current patients of Children's Hospital Colorado Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) recently gathered to attend a prom just for them. The "Oncology Prom" is an annual event held for patients ages 13 and up that allows them to let loose and forget about their illnesses for a night. The teenagers enjoy complimentary pre-prom pampering, such as hair (or wig) styling, manicures and makeup application before they dine and dance the night away.

Among the 50 teens and young adults who attended this year’s "Midnight Masquerade" themed prom were newlyweds, Brandon and Lindsay McElhinney, who met at a cancer camp organized by the CCBD. Both Brandon and Lindsay are cancer survivors.

"It gives me a chance to be with other young people who have been through the same things I have been through with cancer. It is a chance for us to live or relive a prom that many cancer patients missed," Brandon McElhinney, 26, told Reuters.

The annual event has grown in scope over the last four years. This year, the Westin Tabor Center Hotel hosted the event and offered suites, the ballroom, food and volunteers free of charge. Other vendors donated the tuxes, dresses, makeup, styling and decorations to make it one special night. Guests even got to enjoy a celebrity appearance by Denver-based hip-hop band, the Flobots.

"Every year these kids are so inspiring in their ability and no questions are asked. There are no second glances. They can just celebrate feeling well enough to be here and feeling accepted," said the founder of the event, Tommi McHugh.

McHugh says she is amazed that despite the threat to their lives and the severe treatment, most youngsters battling illness say they would not change anything given the chance.

Check out photos and read more about the event from the following news outlets: