Prom comes to teen cancer sufferer in hospital
A dying teenager who wanted to go to a prom as part of her bucket list became too sick to attend the event, so classmates and relatives took the party to her hospital bed.
As friends gathered at the prom venue in LaFollette, Tennessee on Tuesday night, 14-year-old Katelyn Norman was flown to hospital struggling to breathe.
She has been fighting the aggressive bone cancer osteosarcoma for two years and drew up a list of things she hoped to do before dying.
The activities included having a last slow dance, learning to drive a car, getting a Marilyn Monroe piercing, spending a day with each of her siblings, and going to the prom.
Last week doctors told Katelyn the cancer had spread to her heart, arteries, pelvis and spine, and there was nothing more they could do.
When she could not get to the prom, for which the theme was Katie in the Sky With Diamonds, balloons and music were taken to her hospital bed.
Katelyn was in a stable condition and high spirits. She is pictured smiling as her handsome date, dressed in a white suit with blue tie, bent down to her hospital bed to present her with her corsage.
Outside the hospital, thousands of people lined the highway as part of a candle-lit vigil.
"She contacted me and said prom must go on, that's her, and you can't help but feed off that energy, that life," Sharon Shepard, an instructor at Katelyn's school and prom coordinator, told WATE-TV.
At the prom, Campbell County mayor William Bailey announced that Tuesday March 26 would be known as Katelyn Norman Day.
Katelyn's story has spread across social networking sites and Kristi Buckner in North Carolina set up a fundraising page so the family could afford to carry out Katelyn's last wishes
Katelyn's mother, Erica Nelson, said they hoped to complete as many activities as possible as Katelyn spends her last days at home.
Katelyn's best friend Brandon Huckaby, 16, told ABC: "She's always used her sense of humour and her grab on others to push to make everything better for everyone.
"She doesn't care that she's suffering. She cares that other people are suffering and she wants to stop that."
He knew he must help her complete her final wishes.
"This is happening," he said. "I'm getting this done."
- © Fairfax NZ News