June 26, 2014
On Saturday, June 21st, teen patients from the Children’s Blood & Cancer Center spent the evening at Dell Children’s Medical Center. In their battle with chronic illness, they’ve spent countless hours on the CBCC inpatient floor or in the CBCC outpatient clinic.
But on this night, they are visiting Dell Children’s for a different reason. They are normal teens attending their prom and nobody is thinking about illness.
Fourteen-year-old Cami Eagle has been looking forward to this night since last year after she attended her first Hungry Bunch prom. “When I walked into prom, I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “It was this beautiful event. I took my best friend from school and when I got home I couldn’t stop talking about it. We had such fun! Crazy things were happening every minute.”
Hungry Bunch Prom is a highlight of the season for many CBCC teens. This year’s Roaring 20’s theme featured a six-piece jazz band performing fast and energetic rhythms from the era, a talented dance group demonstrating the Charleston and tap routines, silent movies, and Charlie Chaplin mingling in the crowd. The teens looked spectacular in their beautiful prom dresses, tuxes, and decorative 1920’s headwear. Everyone let loose and danced the night away.
Aveda Institute has supported Hungry Bunch prom for the past three years, providing a free prom primping party for female guests to enjoy hair styling, makeup and mani/pedi’s. Leah Hrbacek says it’s a very important day for Aveda employees.
“Primp Day gives us a chance to be involved and use our talents to really make a child feel special about themselves,” says Leah. “Our students and staff work very hard on this special day. It’s a good feeling seeing so many smiles, and families can’t thank us enough for our participation.”
CBCC Psychosocial Program Coordinator Cindy Fitchpatrick coordinates Hungry Bunch Prom, now in its sixth year. She says the number of community supporters has grown through the years. “Prom provides an exciting party where the adolescent patients can meet and have fun together,” she says. “Very often these meetings then lead to supportive friendships with other teens with similar illnesses and medical experiences. In addition, Prom gives teens something very positive to look forward to each year!!”
This year’s event was a great success. At the end of the evening, teens left with hand-made picture frames to display their favorite memories of the evening.
Cami’s mother, Amy, says Hungry Bunch has been an invaluable experience for her daughter. “Half the battle is getting your psyche in the right place,” she says. “Cami feels more ‘normal’ being around other kids going through similar chronic illnesses, which has helped her develop a whole new perspective. Hungry Bunch changed her attitude and boosted her confidence.”
The CBCC is grateful to all the community supporters and volunteers who worked to make this a special night to remember!
Thank you to the following:
Promise Circle of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation (Austin Chapter)
Hungry Bunch Prom Committee
University of Texas S.M.I.L.E.
Dell Children’s Youth Advisory Council
Photographers James Stacy and Elizabete Silva