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About Sickkids
About SickKids

July 20, 2011

Here’s lookin’ at you, kids

SickKids teens create special memories in Old Hollywood

Glitz, glamour, red carpets and “paparazzi” created the scene at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Thursday evening and transformed an otherwise-routine evening into the world of Old Hollywood.
We experienced the After Hours Exclusive Teen Event through the eyes of two SickKids patients, Mary Feeney, 17, and Alex Salmon, 14.

Mary Feeney gets her makeup done

Mary:

The evening began with getting my hair and makeup done in Marnie’s Lounge. A SickKids patient named DJ Skinnzy entertained us while makeup artists and hair stylists prepped everyone for the night ahead.

SickKids patient Alex Salmon, also known as DJ Skinnzy, said his favourite moment of the evening was DJing. He spun tunes in Marnie’s while patients were treated to hair and makeup and then in the Rotunda for the big event.

As the clock struck seven, patients and their guests stepped out of the Black Wing elevators and onto the red carpet in style. The prom-inspired occasion marked a memorable rite of passage some patients may not otherwise experience due to hospitalization. Fifty patients and their guests spent the evening mingling with Canadian celebrities, dancing to DJ BelloSound’s music and playing games.

Mary Feeney and her best friend from Kitchener, Ontario.

Mary:

One of my best friends from my hometown of Kitchener, Ont. was my guest for the evening.

Black and white drapery lined the walls and old Hollywood movies played on screens around the Rotunda. Guests enjoyed sampling from a colourful candy and delicious dessert bar and sipped on mocktails throughout the evening.

Canadian celebrities surprised the teens and many spent the evening mingling and getting autographs and pictures. Special celebrity guests included MuchMusic hosts Sarah Taylor, Jessie Giddings, Lauren Toyota, Phoebe Dykstra and Kathleen Newman-Bremang, Toronto FC player Demitrius Omphroy and Canadian actress and singer Kate Todd from Life with Derek.

Mary Fenney and Kate Todd.

Mary:

I loved meeting all the celebrities. They were all very nice, down-to-earth and genuinely wanted to be there; it seemed like they really cared. To them, it didn’t matter what you were hooked up to, or that you were a patient. They wanted to get to know you. They saw you for you.

DJ Skinnzy and friend

Alex:

I take requests, but I am good at reading the crowd. I have been spinning beats for five years now. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to DJ at a prom.

Skinnzy’s dream came true Thursday evening as he entertained partygoers alongside a professional DJ.

Teens dancing at the SickKids prom

Mary:

I had the opportunity to meet teenage patients my age. It was cool to meet new people and to get outside of my element.

Mary Feeney

Mary:

The After Hours Exclusive Teen Event was extra special for me. I missed my own prom this year because I had to be in the hospital. I was really thankful for the opportunity for a redo. I am glad I went to the After Hours event and very grateful SickKids did something like this for their teen patients. I had a blast at the event! I’m so thankful I went and was able to invite one of my friends from home.

DJ Skinnzy spinning some tunes

Alex:

My favourite part of the evening was hanging out with everyone, especially the DJ. He helped teach me how to beat-match and mix songs like a pro. I really enjoyed the entire evening and would love to do it again. DJing takes a lot of concentration, but I absolutely love it.

“The goal is to provide patients with a distraction from their hospital routine,” said Caron Irwin, Entertainment and Donations Coordinator in the Child Life Department at SickKids. “The After Hours Exclusive Teen Event is an opportunity to provide teens with a sense of normalcy and something to look forward to.”

The third annual After Hours Exclusive Teen Event is made possible through the Storfer Dream Delivery program, which provides unique opportunities for chronic and long-term patients at SickKids.

The After Hours Exclusive Teen Event was created in 2009 by SickKids’ Child Life Department, which aims to promote a positive hospital experience for children and teens through therapeutic play, encouraging self-expression, easing anxiety and enhancing coping strategies.

Story by Ashleigh Martyn