More than 100 teenagers with end-stage kidney disease received the rock star treatment Saturday, during their prom night at the House of Dereon Media Center in downtown.
The prom night is one of many activities organized by the Renal Center’s “Quality of Life” program at Texas Children’s Hospital.
“It looks really cool. I just want to have fun,” said 15-year-old Eddy Martinez, who was decked out in a black suit with a purple tie and fedora hat.
The teens, patients at Memorial Hermann or Texas Children’s Hospital, undergo dialysis around three times a week, some for 20 hours a week. Some have already received kidney transplants.
The evening started with the girls prepping for the party by getting their hair, makeup and nails done by 34 student volunteers from San Jacinto College’s cosmetology program. They each picked out a dress and accessories donated to the Quality of Life program.
After arriving, each teen and their date had a professional photo taken and walked down a red carpet before going inside the party. Mingling was easy since most of the kids know each other from receiving treatment together. It didn’t take long to fill the dance floor as everyone danced the night away to the latest tunes.
Jacqueline Benevides, 18, who receives dialysis seven days-a-week at her home in Beaumont, was diagnosed with complete renal failure two years ago. She said the prom gives her something to look forward to while waiting for a kidney match for a transplant.
“It helps. It’s an escape,” she said.
Even food is special
Because of the strict dietary guidelines for those on dialysis, the food served was specifically prepared by Rice Epicurean Markets so that all participants could eat popcorn, hamburgers and treats from a candy bar.
Charlie Evanicky, 15, who received a kidney transplant in 2005 and also has diabetes, came from Brenham to unwind and spend the evening as a typical teen.
“I don’t dance at all,” said Evanicky, who wore a gray dress with black flowers. “I’m excited, I’m nervous and I’m a little scared.”
Evanicky’s mother Bobbi said that it’s a special day for Charlie. Due to complications from her recent transplant, this may be the only prom she will get to attend. “Who knows whether she’s actually going to make her junior or senior prom,” she said.
Dr. Michael C. Braun, chief of service for the Renal Section at Texas Children’s Hospital, said he was glad to see the young patients having fun and just being kids.
“This is what I work for,” he said. “They’re doing the things that every teenager does and it’s great.”
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