HOUSTON, May 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A high school prom is a rite of passage that most teens are eager to experience. But for kids who require kidney dialysis three times a week, the prom seems like only a fantasy. Thanks to the caring renal team at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, 80+ teens took part in a special prom with all the expected glitz and glamour. To view a video of prom highlights and the patients' experiences, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvfqVBnhMbI
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The second annual prom, dubbed "You Light Up the Night" was held for teen renal dialysis patients from Texas Children's Hospital's Renal Service Sunday, May 1 at Trevisio's Restaurant, located in the Texas Medical Center. It was a rousing success, complete with a DJ playing pop tunes and a dance floor throbbing with teenagers.
"We held our first prom last year, and we knew we would have to do it again after seeing what a morale boost it was to our patients," said Meredith Vela, quality of life coordinator at Texas Children's Renal Service. "Patients, who often do not get to attend their own high school proms because of their medical conditions, were delighted and thrilled by the magic of it all. This year, the kids were eager to take part in all the fun again."
More than 300 new and used gowns, suits and tuxes in a variety of colors, styles and sizes were donated by hospital employees and community members. Patients selected a gown or suit of their choice with volunteer seamstresses on hand to tailor a perfect fit for their special evening. On prom day, San Jacinto College cosmetology students pampered the teens with manicures, make-up and hair-dos before they headed off for the prom festivities. The event offered an excellent opportunity for the young patient to have fun and relate to peers who understand what it is like to experience restrictive medical conditions.
The Renal Service at Texas Children's Hospital currently has 45 patients between the ages of 13 and 25 years on kidney dialysis plus another 65 patients in the same age-range who have received kidney transplants. These patients share a diagnosis of End Stage Renal Disease and spend a minimum of 20 hours per week at Texas Children's getting treatments. Teens with ESRD generally miss a lot of school and often have limited social interaction with their school peers because of absences, illnesses, and low self-esteem. These dialysis patients miss many social occasions at their high school and rarely attend their own school proms.
Jacqueline Benavides, a 17-year-old high school junior, says her life turned upside down when she was unexpectedly diagnosed with a renal disease that meant she needed dialysis to save her life. Now she endures 10 1/2 hours of peritoneal dialysis each night. Even though it is a life-sustaining treatment, it also causes many restrictions to her lifestyle as a teenager. It is difficult to have sleepovers with her friends or family. "We have to bring my dialysis machine, the supplies needed to hook me up to the machine and bags of the dextrose solution used for dialysis," says Jacqueline. "Because I am at such high risk for infection, we need to ask my host to thoroughly clean the room where I will sleep. I'm often too exhausted to do fun things with my friends, and it is difficult for them to understand. They just have to go on without me," said Jacqueline.
Jacqueline's renal disease came on silently and without warning. By the time she saw signs of swollen ankles and felt exhaustion that led her to see a doctor, her kidneys were already failing and nothing could be done to reverse the damage. She needed dialysis or she could lose her life. "That was a tough way to spend my sixteenth birthday," said Jacqueline who has been dealing with her condition for over a year now.
When Jacqueline arrived at the prom with her cousin, no one would have guessed the weighty medical problems she faces every day. In addition to a radiant smile, she wore a red full-length, silk gown with flecks of encrusted rhinestones on the bodice and a diamond tiara crowned her chestnut-colored hair. "This is the most fun and the most teen-like that I have felt in a long time," said Jacqueline. "The prom gave me a way to escape my medical problems and to be pampered and treated like a princess. It was really a special evening."
Texas Children's Renal Service received incredible community support for its second annual prom.
"It took a lot of preparation and community support to put on this prom," said Frida Wilson, quality of life coordinator. "But, it was worth every minute of it to see the joy and happiness of these kids. We have so many people who completely or partial donated goods or services to this effort."
Texas Children's Hospital worked with many community partners to make the prom a real success including: Invitation Solutions, glamour shots from Jay Pifer of EVOKE Photography, Charming Charlie's, Ad-wear and Specialty of Texas, San Jacinto School of Cosmetology, Balloons-R-Us, The Original Henna Company, Trevisio's, Oulala! What an Event, Space City Airbrush- T-shirt decorating, PRP entertainment- DJ, Ideal Party Decorations and Cinderella/Cinderfella Project, Inc who collected men's clothing and accessories.
About Texas Children's Renal Dialysis Center
The Renal Dialysis Center at Texas Children's Hospital is dedicated to providing dialysis treatments to infants, children, adolescents, and young adults (newborn through 21 years of age) who have had a loss of kidney function. The Center is ranked #4 in Kidney by U.S.News & World Report
About Texas Children's Hospital
Texas Children's Hospital is committed to a community of healthy children by providing the finest pediatric patient care, education and research. Renowned worldwide for its expertise and breakthrough developments in clinical care and research, Texas Children's is nationally ranked in all ten subspecialties in U.S. News & World Report's list of America's Best Children's Hospitals. Texas Children's also operates the nation's largest primary pediatric care network, with more than 40 offices throughout the greater Houston community. Texas Children's has embarked on a $1.5 billion expansion, Vision 2010, which includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births and Texas Children's Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston. For more information on Texas Children's Hospital, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news from Texas Children's Hospital by visiting the online newsroom and on Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.
Contact: Carol Wittman
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SOURCE Texas Children's Hospital