P-R-O-M. Four letters. One word
Bring it up in any conversation with a high school girl and almost instantly, they become giddy with excitement. Prom is the pinnacle of your high school career. It takes months of preparation: hunting down the perfect dress, trying on hundreds of shoes, and booking the limo/party bus/whatever extravagant means of transportation you decide to take. And now with the “promposal,” prom has become a bigger deal than ever.
But for four young girls, their prom this season will have a special meaning.
Catherine Malatesta looked absolutely stunning for her junior prom.
The 16-year-old wore a gorgeous dark blue gown and braided updo when she went with her date to the dance. Prom is a milestone event for every teenager, but a few months prior to the big event, there were doubts about if she would even be able to attend.
Catherine was being treated for stage 4 cancer.
You would never be able to tell by the way she is beaming, but Catherine was released from the hospital the night before her prom. She wanted nothing more than to feel like a normal teenager, even if it was just for one day.
“She turned to me and said, ‘Mom, for the first time in a long time, I actually feel beautiful,'” her mother, Jennifer Goodwin said to Today through tears. “It was such a lovely moment and I was so happy that she felt like that for one day. It was a special, special night for all of us.”
Before her diagnosis, Catherine was a very active and involved student, participating in multiple sports.
She had complained about shoulder pain, thinking that it was a sports injury, but in December 2014, she was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma. The rare cancer affects only 1 in 10 million people. It had already spread to her lungs and spine.
Despite going through chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy, she kept a positive attitude and attended school when she could. She even found time to run for student council president. She recorded her speech from her hospital room and won the election.
Catherine passed away just two months after the prom.
A few days after the May 29 dance, she was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital. She passed away on August 2, less than a year after her diagnosis.
Now, four of Catherine’s friends are honoring her memory in a special way.
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