When parents first hear that their child has been diagnosed as palliative, often they feel they have to let go of many of the dreams they have for their child, like a first father-daughter dance at a fancy-dress social, or of cheering on their local sports club…. If our team at Emily’s House can come up with a creative solution to help make some of these dreams come true for our families, it will happen. They will find a way for a new baby to experience a Maple Leafs hockey game with his family; or, create a magical event like our first, much-anticipated “Under the Stars”: Prom Dance for Emily’s House Children and Families held in February.
Our Recreational Programs Coordinator lead the team to create an enchanting, fairy-tale-like ambiance. Our children and their families received beautiful, wedding-like invitations. The everyday entrance of our Emily’s House residential children’s hospice was transformed. Dressed in their semi-formal wear, guests walked across a red carpet, where they were met by the camera flashes of paparazzi (aka, our children’s hospice volunteers). Families were surrounded by vibrant balloons and stars, that lead them through a lighted arch of perfect purple, and the scene was set to make new memories. The occasion came to life, with a live DJ, lights, colour, a prom photo booth, a chocolate fountain, and “cuddle dances.”
One of our team members wrote: “Casa Loma and Disneyland have nothing to compare to the magic that happened at Emily’s House. Moms, dads, children, staff, and volunteers – stylishly dressed in formal wear – were a wonderful sight to behold. One beautiful, young lady in a lovely dress, sported a wrist corsage of tiny, mauve, sweetheart roses. Her mom provided a long-stem rose in the same colour for each child in a wheelchair. Our very own Emily looked radiant in her formal wear. All the parents and children were smiling, expressing great fun, and happiness. One dad gently lifted his beautiful daughter from her wheelchair, holding her securely, and danced with her to, “I love you just the way you are.”
It was, indeed, a special night under the stars, for our 56 special guests: 28 young people and their loved ones. Heartfelt thanks go to the staff, volunteers, and Summerhill Market catering, who hosted our families. By all accounts, the evening sparkled with thoughtful details, celebration of life, and, “so much magic and memories made, never to be forgotten.”