SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Most Bay Area schools had their proms weeks ago. But, in San Francisco this Friday, dozens of very special teens will get to attend their own prom. The kids invited range from 13 to 19. Despite the age difference, they all have one thing in common. They have fought a life-threatening illness — cancer.
Seventeen-year-old Dorrian Lewis and her mom have picked out the dress she will wear to a very special prom.
“I thought I was going to be the only one who didn’t get to go to prom and everybody at school was going to be “oh, like I did this and I did that.” And then I get to go to my own prom with people who are more like me,” said Lewis.
The chemotherapy that helped Dorrian battle a type of cancer called T-cell lymphoma, also kept her from going to the prom at Mission High School. She lost all of her hair, but she’s currently in remission. Next Friday, Dorrian and more than 60 other Northern California kids fighting cancer will get a prom of their very own — thanks to a former Cal student.
“It’s just not fair for someone so young to have to endure and worry about their life,” said prom organizer Freddy Scarf.
Scarf is a 19-year-old L.A. native who now attends Cornell University. He organized two proms in Southern California in 2007 and 2008 in honor of his friend Shiri Gumbiner. She passed away from cancer in 2005 before they could go to prom together. Freddy figured throwing the two L.A. proms and one this year in San Francisco would be a fitting memorial.
“It’s very scary to go to prom. It was very scary for me to go to prom and it would be very scary for a patient, and just for them to know there are other teens in the bay who have endured the same things, who have the same experiences, is very comforting to them,” said Scarf.
They have rented out the ballroom of San Francisco’s Regency Theater. The theme will be “Once upon a time.” Guests are recommended by their hospitals or caregivers, but its attendance will not be limited to just them.
“If you’re between the ages of 13 and 19 and you have any life threatening illness or terminal illness, you’re invited to come to the prom, but of course with that said, we have someone who is 20 and someone who is 12. We’re not going to shoo anyone away because of their age,” said Scarf.
“I’ve always wanted to meet other people like me and share stories. They can tell me their story and what they had and I can tell them my story and what I had and kind of like meet new people,” said Lewis.