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A prom of my own
3 minute read

A prom of my own


SickKids patient Vanessa Wiens reflects on going to SickKids prom, an event intended for the teens who have missed their own prom or can’t attend because they can’t leave the hospital.

My name is Vanessa Wiens, I am 17 years old and have been a patient at SickKids since I was nine years old. I have juvenile arthritis that has affected most of the joints in my body, but particularly my jaw and the shape of my face.

A teen girl dressed in formal wear smiling. Behind her there are colourful lights and silhouettes of people dancing
Vanessa Wiens, age 17

When I was nine years old, we discovered that my jaw was only the size of a five year old and the reason being the joints in my jaw (temporomandibular joint) were eroding away. I’m 17 now and I just had jaw surgery, because of the timing I was going to miss my school’s prom. Remarkably I was instead invited to attend the SickKids prom. This prom is intended for the teens who have missed their own prom or can’t attend because they can’t leave the hospital.

When I heard this I got so excited, because SickKids has always been a huge part of my life and celebrating with friends by dancing and just hanging out sounded so amazing.

The day of, my friend Katie and I arrived a bit earlier because they offered to do our hair and makeup. The room reserved for getting ready was transformed into a beauty salon. There were tons of hair and makeup artists, a table for getting your nails done and assorted jewellery for us to choose from, if we wanted. It started at 7 p.m. and when we walked into the room I was stunned! I still can’t believe how much work was put into the event. The theme was enchanted forest so, the room was made up with green lights and other decorations. There was a live band playing music and the Toronto FC players came too. They were really nice; they danced with us and took pictures.

My favourite part was actually the photo booth. We took so many pictures and used tons of different props; my favourite being the Darth Vader mask. We had so much fun and I think it was such a great event. It gave us a chance to just have a great time with our friends and not experience any judgment from others. I really hope they continue to hold the prom for years to come!

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