Thea Digiammerino

Hospitalized Teen Gets to Attend Her Prom

With makeup carefully applied and smiles on every face in the room, you almost forget about all the medical equipment beeping away. It's not exactly how Newington High School senior Toni Laites thought she'd spend the hours before her senior prom. But it turned out it was even better than she imagined.

"I really had no hope at the beginning of the day. I thought my one special day was taken away from me," Laites said.

Last year doctors diagnosed her with Ulcerative Colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. Just days before her prom, the Newington High School student suffered an excruciatingly painful flare up. After being admitted to Connecticut Children's Medical Center, she was told she couldn't go to prom. But knowing how much it meant to her, at the last minute, her doctor found a way.

"Everybody was in tears in the room. It was so moving," said Toni's mom Leslie Cassandra. "I can't believe people care this much and go this far to help someone."

"I can't thank them enough. The entire family is so excited to even have this opportunity. Honestly, I'm lost for words. I can't thank them enough for pulling it off. I'm still kind of shocked," said Toni's stepdad Thomas Ferreira.

The change in plans meant everyone needed to move fast. Laites' stepsister offered to do her makeup, and a staff member stepped up to do her hair. The dress Laites had picked out hung up nearby ready to go.

NBC Connecticut
Toni Laites thought a hospital stay would prevent her from attending prom, but her team at Connecticut Children's Medical Center found a way to make it happen.

Laites will need to come back after prom to continue her treatments. Her mom calls it her Cinderella moment.

With the last touches complete, Laites posed next to the people who have already made her night unforgettable.

"Thank you all so much," Laites said. "I didn't expect any of this. It means the world to me."

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