Prom, a night filled with bright lights, loud music and close friends, is an experience that many teens look forward to during the end of their high school journey. After Fred Scarf lost his friend Shiri to cancer when he was 15 years old, he decided to make sure he could help teens with life-threatening illnesses attend prom. It started out with 20 patients in 2006 and grew to annual proms in five cities. The growth of this special event in teens’ lives has been transformed into a nonprofit organization called No Worries Now. Since 2006, over 3,000 teenagers have attended these proms. The executive director of No Worries Now, Marta Belcher, talks about the experience that their unforgettable prom provides. “For teens who have been in and out of the hospital the opportunity to let go and dance and celebrate life is a really meaningful experience,” she said.
One teen that felt rejuvenated after attending one of these unforgettable proms was Cecilia “Cecy” Saravia. When Cecy was 14 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. When Cecy’s strength was wearing thin, her mother, Estella, found out about No Worries Now through the children’s hospital where Cecy was undergoing treatments. Once Cecy heard about the program, she felt energized, especially when there was a dress giveaway and she was able to choose from hundreds of donated designer dressers.
Cecy is now 18 years old and her cancer has been in remission for over a year. So far, she has attended three unforgettable proms. Each year she is motivated to attend because she can share her story and inspire others to beat their illnesses. Cecy is the definition of a survivor, as she recently graduated from high school this past June. This Thoughtful Thursday, we commend Fred and those teens fighting life-threatening illnesses as they pursue their dreams of attending an unforgettable prom.