Monthly Archives: June 2013

United Kingdom Daily Mail: Teens with terminal illnesses swap hospital gowns for prom dresses in touching party that’s ‘the one night of the year they can just be kids’

Teens with terminal illnesses swap hospital gowns for prom dresses in touching party that’s ‘the one

night of the year they can just be kids’

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

PUBLISHED: 14:59 EST, 21 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:04 EST, 21 June 2013

Confined to their hospital beds, doctors’ appointments and treatment schedules means that many of these terminally-ill teenagers often miss out on experiences their peers get to enjoy.

But on Thursday night, they were able to forget about their illnesses and focus on being teenagers – by swapping their hospital gowns for prom dresses at a party in Los Angeles, California.

More than 200 youngsters took the red carpet to the dance floor at the No Worries Now Prom, which allows the teenagers to enjoy an important milestone they might otherwise not experience.

Getting ready: Girls get pampered ahead of the prom, which was held for terminally ill teenagers in L.A.
Getting ready: Girls get pampered ahead of the prom, which was held for terminally ill teenagers in L.A.

 

Rachael Gottes (far left) had leukemia She is with her friend (center) and sister Paige Gottes (right)
No Worries Now prom

Guests of honor: Among the teenagers attending the prom was Rachael Gottes (far left) who had leukemia. Guests said they loved that the chance to meet others who had been through the same experiences

 

‘For many attendees, the No Worries Now Prom is the one night a year they can just be kids,’ Marta Belcher, No Worries Now’s executive director, told NBC Los Angeles.

‘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.’

Attendees danced under twinkling lights, wore corsages made of balloon flower and snapped their prom photos by a fountain at the Evening in Venice themed event at The Ebell in Los Angeles.

The prom is organized by No Worries Now, which was launched in 2006 by a teenager who lost his best friend to bone cancer and wanted to give other sick youngsters something to celebrate.

Forgetting their troubles: The prom allows terminally-ill teenagers to focus on fun rather than their diagnoses
Forgetting their troubles: The prom allows terminally-ill teenagers to focus on fun rather than their diagnoses
Arrival: Guests at the No Worries Now prom took a red carpet to the dance floor on Thursday night
Arrival: Guests at the No Worries Now prom took a red carpet to the dance floor on Thursday night

It also pairs patients and volunteers from local colleges to go on monthly trips so the teenagers feel ‘normalcy and joy’.

The events are now held in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

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

‘You feel like no one is judging you or anything, so that’s why I really like coming here,’ Alex Martinez, 18, told ABC7.

‘At a regular prom, maybe people would look at me weird because I would be the only one in a wheelchair, but here, everybody has something, a story to share.’

Friends: The teenagers said they felt more at ease than at their high school events as they fit in here
Friends: The teens said they felt more at ease than at their high school events as they fitted in at the prom
Dapper: Some younger guests join in the festivities organized by No Worries Now, a Los Angeles-area charity which aims to bring joy and normalcy to the lives of terminally-ill youngsters
Dapper: Some younger guests join in the festivities organized by No Worries Now, a Los Angeles-area charity which aims to bring joy and normalcy to the lives of terminally-ill youngsters

 

Treat: The teenagers posed for their prom photographs by this fountain outside The Ebell
Treat: The teenagers posed for their prom photographs by this fountain outside The Ebell

 

Sascha Lee, 22, added: ‘Having a disability, it’s not that easy to find someone who can relate to you, so being able to come and have fun and meet other people that know what you’re going through is a great thing to me.’

You can find out more about the charity and its events here.

 

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346013/Teens-terminal-illnesses-swap-hospital-gowns-prom-dresses-touching-party-thats-night-year-just-kids.html#ixzz2XS29uIpE
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Bossip: A Lil Bittersweet Positivity: ‘No Worries, Now Prom’ Event Gives Terminally Ill Teenagers The Chance To Go To Prom

A Lil Bittersweet Positivity: ‘No Worries, Now Prom’ Event Gives Terminally Ill Teenagers The Chance To Go To Prom

Posted on June 21st, 2013 – By Bossip Staff

Categories: A “Lil Positivity”For the ChildrenFor Your InformationNews

Positivity2

Community Hosts Prom Event For Terminally Ill Teenagers

A group of terminally ill teenagers who are all battling life-threatening illnesses and may never get the chance to attend a high school prom got their chance to do so earlier this week at the first-ever “No Worries, Now Prom” event held just for them.

via NBC Los Angeles

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

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.

“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.”

Such a positive event for a group of well-deserving kids. We love it.

 

Park LaBrea News Beverly Press: Unique prom provides a night to remember

Unique prom provides a night to remember

By Aaron Blevins, 6/27/2013

Event serves youth with disabilities, terminal illnesses

The DJ was spinning the appropriate dance songs. The subwoofers shook the dance floor with each bass note. Food and drink was readily available, and the red carpet had been unrolled. The Ebell of Los Angeles was jumping.

A conga line forms on the dance floor at the Ebell of Los Angeles, where No Worries Now held its annual prom. (photo by Aaron Blevins)

Eighteen-year-old Alex Martinez left his wheelchair at the door. A resident of northeast Los Angeles living with a high-functioning form of spina bifida, he wasn’t going to let his chair lessen his fun at the No Worries Now Los Angeles Prom 2013 last Thursday.

“I’m really enjoying it,” he said in the courtyard, sporting a vest and dress pants for the occasion. The nearby waterfall was glowing, providing ambience for those waiting in line for the photo booth or to have their caricatures drawn. “I’m having a lot of fun. There’s a lot of stuff to do here.”

Martinez, who works for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Office through its Summer Night Lights program, attended with his mother, Paula Ramirez, and her fiancée, Alex Nery. It was the family’s second No Worries Now prom.

“I think it’s great,” Nery said. “They’re doing something for a good cause. We need more of these programs, more of these events for these kids.”

Ramirez said high school proms can be tough for people with healthcare needs, who encounter extra obstacles during the already hectic day. She said the No Worries Now events are more inclusive.

“This is nice — to have something tailored for people like himself,” Ramirez added.

That is certainly the idea behind the proms hosted by No Worries Now, a nonprofit organization founded by in 2006 by Fred Scarf. Since its first prom in 2007, volunteers have been hosting the events for terminally ill youth who may not live long enough to enjoy their own prom. Not all of the participants have life-threatening illnesses, however.

Marta Belcher, executive director of No Worries Now, said Scarf originally founded the organization as the Shiri Foundation to honor his friend, Shiri Gumbiner, who had died from cancer. When discussing the foundation’s mission, the idea for a prom was pitched since Scarf and Gumbiner had wanted to go to prom together before she died.

The foundation eventually combined with an umbilical cord blood banking advocacy organization, Cal Cord Blood, and No Worries Now was born, she said. Since then, the organization has hosted proms every year in Los Angeles, where the nonprofit was founded. However, through its Prom In A Box program, volunteers in other cities also host annual proms.

The No Worries Now proms are held at different facilities each year. This year’s event was the first at the Ebell. Last year’s prom was at Sony Pictures Studios.

“We try to get some variety,” Belcher said. “A lot of the same kids come year after year, so we want them to have a new experience every year.”

Approximately 300 people attended last Thursday’s event. Belcher said No Worries Now works with social workers, local hospitals and cancer support organizations to draw participants. But the event has really taken off thanks to participants telling their friends, she said.

“It’s just grown into this great thing,” Belcher added. “It’s super cool for everyone involved. The idea is that patients here have been sitting in hospital rooms all year. We say it’s for teens who won’t live long enough to attend their own proms, but that’s not only who it’s for. It’s for teens who wear hospital gowns all the time. Tonight’s the night when they get to wear their ball gowns instead.”

Participants certainly enjoyed the effort. Kathy Robinson Young, the niece of Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson, attended with her daughter, Brittni, who described the event as “good.” It was their fifth No Worries Now prom.

“It’s a family reunion,” Young said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Like Young and her daughter, Granada Hills resident Darius Smajur and his daughter, Veronique, were tearing up the dance floor.

“This is such a great event,” he said. “We are so grateful to be here. …It’s a great, great event.”

Coleen Garcia began attending the proms three years ago after one of her students at La Serna High School in Whittier was diagnosed with leukemia. The student’s mother had been a big supporter of No Worries Now, Garcia said.

“We just want to serve other people and help out,” she said. “It makes my heart feel stronger. It makes me forget about the problems that I have when I realize, you know, we’ve all got issues in our lives, but when you have health issues like some of these people do, you can’t complain. We’ve got nothing to complain about.”

The all-volunteer organization relies heavily on donations, proceeds from its T-shirt sales and community partners to host the events, Belcher said. She said No Worries Now partners provided free dresses and make-up for participants. On June 18, attendees could pick out a dress courtesy of Becca’s Closet of Tracy at Millennium Dance Complex in North Hollywood.

However, more help is always needed. No Worries Now will host its first-ever fundraising gala and silent auction from 6 to 11 p.m. on Sept. 7 at UCLA, and the organization hosts small fundraisers throughout the year.

The donations also help benefit its Pair Program, which aims to spread the “specialness of prom night” throughout the rest of the year, Belcher said. Volunteers and patients are paired based on their interests and personalites, and they go on outings to places such as Disneyland.

For information, visit www.noworriesnow.org.

NBC 4: Terminally Ill Teens Celebrate Special Prom Night

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

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.

New York Daily News: Terminally ill California teens celebrate special prom just for them

Terminally ill California teens celebrate special prom just for them

The teens found comfort at Thursday’s event at the Ebell of Los Angeles. They enjoyed the company of others who understand what they are going through – a far cry from the judgment many feel from their classmates.

BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013, 1:15 PM
Young patients battling life-threatening illnesses swapped hospital gowns for ballgowns Thursday night for a prom thrown just for them at The Ebell of Los Angeles.

NBC LOS ANGELES

The young patients got to dress up in fancy clothes and dance with their friends. Many of the attendants likely will never get the chance to attend their high school proms.

No patient gowns for one night — only ball gowns.

Terminally ill California teens took a break from the marble tiles of sterile hospital hallways for the dance floor at a prom thrown just for them.

The event took place 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday at The Ebell of Los Angeles.

“These kids are in and out of hospitals their whole lives. They don’t get a lot of chances to go out and dress up and feel good about themselves,” said Marta Belcher, executive director of No Worries Now, the organization behind the event.

Nearly 300 teens went to Thursday’s event in Los Angeles, free of charge.

NBC LOS ANGELES

Nearly 300 teens went to Thursday’s event in Los Angeles, free of charge.

The youths dressed to the nines, walked a red carpet, posed for pictures beside an elegant fountain, ate gourmet meals and cut a rug with their friends.

But the night goes deeper than just fulfilling a prom wish.

“It’s honestly just somewhere where I can feel normal,” one teen boy told WJLA-TV.

The No Worries Now prom was held Thursday at The Ebell of Los Angeles.

NBC LOS ANGELES

The No Worries Now prom was held Thursday at The Ebell of Los Angeles.

Many of the attendants will not live long enough to attend a high school prom. Arduous treatment programs will bar most others.

A teen boy, Fred Scarf, founded the Los Angeles-based No Worries Now in 2006.

Two years earlier, his best friend, Shiri Gumbiner, was hospitalized from bone cancer. Scarf would cheer her up throughout debilitating and ineffective treatment by discussing their plans to attend senior prom together.

While they were not posing for photos or eating delicious meals, the teens were cutting a rug on the dance floor.

NBC LOS ANGELES

While they were not posing for photos or eating delicious meals, the teens were cutting a rug on the dance floor.

Shiri never got the chance. She died at 16.

“He was devastated. There were lots of things they wanted to do together. This idea of the prom propped up and he thought this would be a good way to honor her memory,” Belcher said.

No Worries Now aims to “spread the feelings of normalcy and joy” that patients get to feel at their proms throughout the entire year.

Many of the youngsters interviewed said they appreciated the event because no one made them feel strange or different.

NBC LOS ANGELES

Many of the youngsters interviewed said they appreciated the event because no one made them feel strange or different.

Since 2007, the group has thrown proms in Los Angeles. The events have since spread to San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

About 20 teens attended the first prom. Nearly 300 teens went to Thursday’s event, free of charge.

But these youngsters do not just battle disease. They also fight ignorance.

What did guests say they got from this prom? Understanding and acceptance — a break from the negativity and cruelty that several say stains their high school experiences.

“You feel like no one is judging you or anything. That’s why I really like coming here,” one teen said.

“At a regular prom, maybe people would look at me weird because I’m the only one in a wheelchair. But here everyone has something — a story to share.”

mwalsh@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/terminally-ill-california-teens-celebrate-special-prom-article-1.1379832#ixzz2XRtjsoYs

ABC 7: No Worries Now prom held for teens with life-threatening illnesses

MID-CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — When you’re young, there’s nothing like prom night. A Los Angeles-based foundation made the dream come true for hundreds of teens suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

Around 200 kids attended the special prom in Mid-City on Thursday night, sponsored by No Worries Now, which was one of ABC7’s $7,000 Pay It Forward honorees. The charity ensures terminally ill teens get the chance to attend prom, a milestone many have missed.

“You feel like no one is judging you or anything, so that’s why I really like coming here,” said 18-year-old Alex Martinez. “At a regular prom, maybe people would look at me weird because I would be the only one in a wheelchair, but here, everybody has something, a story to share.”

For many at the prom, it was a night of normalcy in a life full of challenges and hospital stays.

“Having a disability, it’s not that easy to find someone who can relate to you, so being able to come and have fun and meet other people that know what you’re going through is a great thing to me,” said 22-year-old Sascha Lee.

It was a night of acceptance and joy, all made possible by the kindness of others.

“It’s a chance to get together with people that know what you’ve gone through in the past and just to like hang out and just have fun, get away from all the negativity and all the harassment and cruelty that goes on in the high school world,” said 19-year-old Eric Mandzuch.

Donations make it possible for No Worries Now to hold proms in four California cities as well as Washington D.C.

 

(Copyright ©2013 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

 

Michael Belcher, Associate Director of Public Relations

Michael is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego, where he works as a research assistant in a Cognitive Science Lab. He was inspired to join No Worries Now by his older sister, Marta, and volunteered at his first prom in 2012. Michael was the Copy Editor of his high school newspaper for 3 years and worked as a reporter and photographer for his town’s local paper, The Outlook. He plans to attend law school after college. He has participated in more than 100 triathlons and also enjoys playing frisbee in his spare time.

1 Week to Prom! Updates: Dress Giveaway, Hair & Makeup Event, and More!

We are excited to welcome you to the 2013 No Worries Now Prom next Thursday, June 20th, at the Ebell of Los Angeles! If you are receiving this e-mail, we have received your RSVP! More information about the Prom itself is available at http://noworriesnow.org/blog/la-prom-2013. Additionally, we have some important updates:

Dress Giveaway Event:

All patient attendees are welcome to join us for our annual dress giveaway event sponsored by the wonderful folks at Becca’s Closet of Tracy. One dress of your choosing will be provided to our patient attendees. (Sorry, we cannot provide dresses to the guests of patients.) You may bring up to two guests to help you select a dress. Please RSVP at http://noworriesnow.org/events/dress-giveaway/ so we know that you will attend!

When: Tuesday, June 18, between the hours of 2:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. (You don’t need an appointment — stop by any time during that window!)

Where: Millennium Dance Complex, 5113 Lankershim Blvd, San Fernando Valley (North Hollywood), CA

Phone: (818) 753-5081

Pre-Prom Hair and Makeup Event:

If you have not done so already, sign up for pre-prom hair and makeup beauty services provided by the Beauty Bus Foundation. The pre-prom beauty event will be held at the Ebell just prior to the prom. Please contact Elizabeth Weeks at (310) 392-0900 for your appointment ASAP.  Again, we ask that services be limited to our patient guests as we have a very limited time to accommodate everyone.

When: Tuesday, June 20, 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (appointment required)

Where: The Ebell of Los Angeles, 743 S Lucerne Blvd  Los Angeles, CA 90005

It’s prom time!

When: Thursday, June 20, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Where: The Ebell of Los Angeles, 743 S Lucerne Blvd  Los Angeles, CA 90005

You’ve got the dress, you’re beautiful, it’s time to dine and dance the night away to the sounds of DJ Don at the beautiful Ebell of Los Angeles.

Registration will begin at 7 p.m. near the rear parking lot (wheelchair accessible). By participating in this event, you are acknowledging your consent to be photographed by any member of the media, the No Worries Now Foundation, Wow Special Events, Becca’s Closet, and/or Beauty Bus Foundation, as well as their representatives or employees. Your entry to this event constitutes implied consent to be photographed and to have those photographs published. If you do not wish to be photographed, please let registration representatives know.

We Need Your Help!

This year, we are asking for your support for this and future proms and events. Please help us “dance on” by stopping by the donation station during Prom and making a contribution of any amount. We will be selling our traditional “ASK ME” T-shirts for $25, as well as our new “Show Your Love” ladies’ shirts for $20. We also have a limited number of custom-crafted domino pendants available for a donation of $15. We will accept cash, checks, or certain credit cards. No Worries Now is an all-volunteer organization which exists solely because of the generosity of people like you. Please help us give another teen the chance to dance.

Finally, if you haven’t already, please “like” us on Facebook for the latest news and updates: facebook.com/noworriesnow.org

If you have any additional questions, you can reach us at info@noworriesnow.org.

Sincerely, The No Worries Now Team

TBA