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About Sickkids
About SickKids

July 16, 2014

SickKids teens enjoy prom-inspired party with Arabian Night theme

By Kat Kostic

On July 11, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) hosted its sixth annual prom-inspired night known as the After Hours Exclusive Teen Event. The celebration took place in the Rotunda at the 555 University Ave. entrance of SickKids.


Inpatients and outpatients between the ages of 13 and 18 were invited. It was an important event for youth who might not otherwise have a chance to attend a prom party, and they let loose while dancing the night away.

Excitement erupted earlier in the day in the Bear Theatre which was transformed into a beauty parlour. With a throng of news media recording their every move, the teens experienced the thrill of metamorphosis with the help of professional hair and makeup artists.

“It’s great having the chance for someone else to do your makeup and get all dolled up,” said Danielle Maxwell, 16, who took part in the event for the first time. She is otherwise unable to attend prom because of her medical condition that caused her to transition to homeschooling. However, her date and boyfriend of five years, Tyler Babcock, will be taking her to his prom next year.

As soon as the party began, teens swarmed the entrance, and within five minutes a dance circle was initiated by Toronto FC players and the “On the Floor” dance crew. SickKids patient and popular personality, Alex Salmon aka “DJ Skinnzy,” played latest hits that projected throughout the entire space. He was assisted by DJ Justin from Jet Entertainment who entertained the crowd.

At the other end of the hall, guests hammed it up for shots in the photo booth and by the desert backdrop, created to evoke the theme of Arabian Nights. The room looked enchanting in exotic décor that included dimly lit candles, palm trees, camels and a giant genie lamp which SickKids’ therapeutic clown A. LeGenie (A. Leboo) put together for the special occasion.

“Prom is an event that people remember for the rest of their lives, and the SickKids prom-inspired party allows patients to experience this milestone in a fun environment, just like any other teen would,” said Alexis Shinewald, Child Life Specialist at SickKids. “They get to feel normal and special.”

The energy in the room was charged further when Briannah Cotton, 17, presented her singing talent in a stunning performance of two classic songs: Adele’s version of Make You Feel My Love and Etta James’s At Last. This inspired FC players and teens to slow-dance while a circle of bright camera flashes illuminated the scene.

Teens enjoyed the spotlight, including Kieley Mackey, a member of the SickKids Children’s Council, who picked out her own sparkly dress for the celebration and paired it with comfortable dancing shoes. This was the first prom-type event she’d ever been to, and was “so much fun,” she said.

The After Hours Exclusive Teen Event was created in 2009 by SickKids’ Child Life Department and was made possible by the Storfer family’s Turning Dreams Into Memories Endowment Fund, a program that provides unique opportunities for chronic and long-term patients at SickKids.