Fred Scarf: A Prom Night to Remember

The founder of the nonprofit foundation No Worries Now, Fred Scarf, talks to Everyday Health about the importance of friends and family and shares his plans for the future.

When he was just 15, in 2006, Fred Scarf founded the No Worries Now foundation. His best friend, Shiri Gubminer, had passed away from a rare form of bone cancer when they were freshmen, and he wanted to create something that would not only honor her, but also fulfill the dream they always had of attending their prom together.

No Worries Now organizes special proms for teens between 13 and 19 who, like Shiri, have life-threatening illnesses like cancer. Many of these teens have to worry about the side effects of treatment on a day to day basis, so the No Worries prom gives them a chance to act their age and take a break from the stresses of their illnesses. They also get free hair, nail, and make-up services, as well as wigs if they want them – so they can go to the prom in style — and an opportunity to connect with others facing similar health challenges. Donations from sponsors around the country mean the No Worries prom is free to all the attendees and their guests.

Currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley, Scarf still organizes proms in cities around the country. Nominated as a CNN Hero in 2010, he has blogged for The Wall Street Journal classroom edition, and he has been published in The Los Angeles Times. His hope is that No Worries proms will empower the teens who go to them and remind them of the unwavering support they have during their journey through illness.

My future health projects: No Worries Now is working on launching Prom in a Box. This will give anyone the tools to organize their own prom in their own city. The No Worries Now team will hold your hand along the way.

My health heroes: My family and friends. They are always there for me.

My practice for what I preach: Use your creativity and imagination to find real solutions.

My best health tip: Do what you love.

Favorite part of a prom celebration: The process of creating a prom. I love seeing all the elements come together and thinking about how I can improve the celebration year after year.