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Friday Night Prom at Packard Children’s Helps Patients Escape on the Ultimate Voyage

Kids with illness explore ‘Mysteries of the Deep’. Prom goers come all the way from Arizona and Hawaii


PALO ALTO, Calif.
-- More than 125 young patients and their guests are eagerly anticipating the
longest-standing children’s hospital prom in the Bay Area.

‘Mysteries of the Deep,’ will set off this Friday night at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, where hospital schoolteachers from the Palo Alto Unified School District are putting the final touches on this year’s very special evening.  Beyond providing an end-of-school rite of passage, the eighth annual prom offers a rare chance for teens and other patients, many of whom have life-threatening illnesses, to immerse themselves in an age-old, non-hospital experience—this year full of aquatic adventures and treasures.

“It’s so important for these kids—some of whom will never go to their school prom—to have a night where they can forget they’re in a hospital and just be kids,” said teacher Kathy Ho, who leads the coordination of an event that gets bigger and more imaginative every year.

‘Mysteries of the Deep’ will offer a transformative experience from the moment guests step into the hospital elevator—decked out entirely as an underwater submarine—and descend deep, deep down to the Ground Floor. The school captains have it all charted out. Emerging into a kelp forest, kids will admire schools of fish, jellyfish, and other sea life suspended from the ceiling as they pass through a coral reef and enter prom.

More than 100 volunteers and local businesses have worked tirelessly for months to make this night possible, including DreamWorks (providing much of the art design and decoration), Anthropologie, Selix Formal Wear, Symantec, Genentech, Weir Catering, Feet First Entertainment, Sugar Shack and many more. Because of their generosity, kids will enjoy shaking their fins to tunes spun by a live DJ, diving into delicious catches of the day, throwing their bait out on the casino table, and exploring underwater adventure games including ‘Poseidon’s Pearl,’ ‘Shark Attack,’ and ‘Tic Tac Tuna.’

Anyone attending the hospital school over the past year is invited to bring a guest, including brothers and sisters who relocated to the area while their sibling received care. Even past-year prom goers are hooked, some flying in from as far as Hawaii and Arizona.

“It’s amazing how many of our former patients and students are coming back to the hospital to volunteer at prom,” marveled Kathy. “The older teens are making plans with the younger students, encircling them with a sense of community, and creating a haven for the sickest of kids. That’s what it’s all about.”

Event information:

  • Friday, June 1, 2012, 6 pm to 9 pm,Packard Children's Hospital, 725 Welch Rd. Palo Alto, CA.
  • Patients, teachers and community volunteers all available for photos, videos, interviews

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