Friday Night (17) at Packard Children’s: End-of-School Prom takes ‘A Journey Into Outer Space’

For Release: May 15, 2013

Palo Alto, Calif. - Why are there people dressed as R2D2 at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital this Friday night? Welcome to the 9th annual end-of-school prom at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Organized by patients and hospital schoolteachers from the Palo Alto Unified School District, this year’s theme is ‘A Journey Into Outer Space,’ and it’s definitely an intergalactic event.

“Prom is a remarkable evening for these kids, and it just gets bigger every year,” said hospital schoolteacher Kathy Ho, chief organizer and party advisor. “It’s fantastic fun, a place where kids can forget their disease and just have a great time. Our philosophy is that you’re not really in the hospital on this night." You’re not really in the cafeteria, either. That’s because Ho and her team are launching it into a brand-new galaxy, one that includes an Ice Planet, Garden Planet, Rock Planet and Techno Planet. “We’re putting a creative twist on everything by making up our own planetary system,” added Ho, who’s letting scientific accuracy take the night off. Together with donors such as DreamWorks, HP, Tiny Prints.

Home Depot and others, Ho and her team are finalizing a world that’s turning hospital elevators into space shuttles. “Everyone loves the wonder of space,” said Ho, “and it really inspires kids." Anyone attending the hospital school over the past year is invited, including brothers and sisters who relocated to Palo Alto while their sibling received care. Selix Formalwear is donating tuxes for the boys and community supporters are contributing evening wear for the girls. But Ho said many of the kids are designing secret, space-themed costumes. “There will be plenty of surprises,” said Ho, who is crafting her own celestial outfit, one that she would only describe as “shiny.” (Wear sunglasses.)

The music, dancing, photos, carnival, food and raffles will all be space-themed, with one space-age twist. “When the kids check in, each will receive their own individual QR code to track points accumulated at game booths, and this will drive prizes,” said schoolteacher Kevin Danie, another holdout from letting us know if he’ll be in some sort of alien suit. It’s a can’t-miss event and the biggest, starriest night of the year, one that doesn’t limit itself to high schoolers. “It’s not just for older kids who may miss their prom,” Ho explained. “We also invite the younger kids. For the more seriously ill, this may be their only chance for a prom.”

Regardless of theme, the kids, the donors, the volunteers and teachers are all very excited. “Through the enthusiasm, creativity and generosity of so many, we’re helping kids make prom dreams a reality,” Danie said. “These are memories that will last a lifetime, and we can’t wait to get this party started.”


Robert Dicks
(650) 497-8364

Winter Johnson
(650) 498-7056

About Stanford Medicine Children's Health

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its center, is the Bay Area’s largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. Along with Stanford Health Care and the Stanford School of Medicine, we are part of Stanford Medicine, an ecosystem harnessing the potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education, and clinical care to improve health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at