By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) — The coronavirus pandemic caused teens around the country to miss special events, but young people with chronic illnesses miss out on much more their whole lives. Dozens of teen patients danced the night away Friday with Children’s Hospital Colorado at a prom held just for them.  

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“Some teens were unable to go to their own prom because of being in the hospital. Others chose not to go to their own prom because they might not have felt comfortable in that setting,” said Sarah Scott, Child Life Program coordinator at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “This is one evening where their medical condition doesn’t take the front seat to what they’re experiencing.”

 

Patients who have been diagnosed with life-threatening or life-limiting medical conditions were given the chance to get their hair and makeup done before enjoying a “Walk on the Wild Side” theme at the Denver Zoo. 

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“Some teens might have received a heart transplant, some might be treated for a form of cancer. Some are receiving prolonged chronic treatment over their lives for various medical conditions. They all know the feeling of coming to the hospital frequently,” said Scott. 

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17-year-old Kaylee Barnett became very familiar with the inside of Children’s Hospital after she was diagnosed with a pheochromocytoma in December.  

 

“It’s really a special thing to be invited to the Children’s prom. I feel like this is a group of people who are going through similar experiences that we can all kind of bond over,” said Barnett. 

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As Covid cases begin to rise again, Barnett hopes our community will keep its neighbors at higher risk in mind. 

 

“I hope people take away that human empathy is really important, especially for some of these immunocompromised kids who this will affect more,” said Barnett. “If I would have gotten COVID, that would have delayed a surgery that I needed and it would’ve been really dangerous to delay that surgery any further.” 

Tori Mason