By Krista Pereira
It was a blast to the past at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) on Friday, July 13 for the annual prom-inspired after-hours teen event. The event’s vintage vibes brought back memories of the 90swith crazy shapes, neon colours, CDs and Slinkies!
The 90s-inspired night was a celebration for teen patients who may not have attended their own high school proms due to health issues. Dedicated SickKids Child Life staff and the Children’s Council make it possible for patients to experience this teen milestone at the hospital every year. This year, around 40 teens showed up for an unforgettable evening of dancing, laughing and making memories.
One group of friends made a particularly special memory this year when Jenn Wilton, a 17-year-old SickKids patient, made a heartfelt ‘promposal’ to her friends, Carolyn and Vanessa. The three of them have become close friends since getting to know each other at last year’s event. Jenn surprised Carolyn and Vanessa in a beautifully decorated Marnie’s Studio, where she played the piano and sang them her version of “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. They happily agreed to go to the event with her!
Makeup artists and hair stylists arrived early in Marnie’s Studio to help patients and friends get dressed up for the night. The studio was buzzing with excited teens and their families, laughing, chatting and taking pictures together. Teens were also given accessories to spice up their look like hats, sunglasses and jewellery – even choker necklaces to stay true to the night’s 90s theme.
“I like the way I look and feel with or without my hair and makeup done, but it’s nice to get dressed up once in a while. I like seeing all these familiar faces in one place looking so fancy!” says Alexandra, who has been a SickKids patient since she was born. “It’s like we all get to forget our worries for a night.”
Before walking the red carpet into the event, teens were invited to a pre-prom in Marnie’s Lounge. Activities included pool, air hockey, appetizers, and music by DJ Skinnzy, a former SickKids patient.
“I spent a lot of time here when I was younger, so it’s nice to be here giving back to the hospital” says Alex Salmon, A.K.A DJ Skinnzy.
As teens entered the prom, they were each given some 90s swag including a neon fanny pack and glow sticks. The rotunda’s decorations stayed true to the theme too. The space was decorated with colourful inflated motifs, Slinkies, and CD disks. There was a spread of delicious food including 90s-themed cake pops and mock-champagne glasses.
“Some of the teens here are at SickKids when their proms are going on and some of them are too sick to attend,” says Carolynn Darrell, SickKids Child Life Specialist. “We really like to provide the opportunity to patients to have this coming-of-age experience and to really have fun.”
On the Floor Dance Crew got everyone dancing while the DJ played classic 90s throwback hits. Toronto FC soccer players joined in on the fun and goofed around with patients on the dance floor and in the photo booth.
The After Hours Exclusive Teen Event is made possible through the Dream Delivery program at SickKids. Thanks to the generosity of the Turning Dreams Into Memories – Ann Storfer Endowment Fund, the program provides unique opportunities for chronic and long-term patients at SickKids.
Krista Pereira works in communications at SickKids.