School Prom Comes To The Hospital Bedside Of Terminally Ill Teenager

14/08/2014 16:48 | Updated 22 May 2015
School prom comes to dying girl's hospital bedside to fulfill her bucket list wish

Teenage cancer sufferer Katelyn Norman's dying wish was that she could attend her school prom in all her finery.

But when she became too sick to make her dream come true her friends rallied together to bring the prom to her.

Katelyn, 14, drew up her Bucket Wish List when she found out she had bone cancer. She yearned to learn to drive a car, to ride on the back of a motorbike and to see Italy.

And she also longed for a a slow dance, a last kiss and a date to the prom in LaFollette, Tennessee.

But as her friends gathered in her honour at the venue on Tuesday night, the teenager had to be airlifted to hospital after struggling to breathe.

So classmates and relatives brought the party to her bedside instead, bringing balloons, music and her smartly-dressed date to make sure she didn't miss out on completing her bucket list.

Katelyn has been fighting osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, for two years but doctors told her last week that it has spread to her heart, arteries, pelvis and spine and that there is nothing more they can do.

Katelyn, who was in stable condition and high spirits, was pictured grinning as her date Jacob bent down to her hospital bed to present her with her corsage.

School prom comes to dying girl's hospital bedside to fulfill her bucket list wish

Outside the hospital, thousands of people lined along Highway 63 as part of a candle-lit vigil for Katelyn, who had insisted that a party continue in her absence.

"She contacted me and said prom must go on, that's her, and you can't help but feed off that energy, that life," Sharon Shepard, an instructor at Katelyn's school and prom coordinator, told WATE-TV.

"Once you meet her your life will never be the same, she has such an impact."

School prom comes to dying girl's hospital bedside to fulfill her bucket list wish

The event, which was held at The Stables in LaFollette, had been personalised for the teenager, with the theme 'Katie in the Sky with Diamonds'.

Friends danced, ate and drank at the party, and posed in front of Italian landscape backdrops - a nod to Katelyn's other dream to visit Italy.

The Campbell County mayor, William Bailey, also headed to the prom - where he announced March 26 would be known as 'Katelyn Norman Day'.

Katelyn was diagnosed with the bone cancer in her right arm in May 2011, after a friend punched her arm and it went limp. X-rays revealed abnormal bone and she was found to be suffering from cancer in her arm and nodules in the lungs.

She has since undergone bone transplants, surgeries of tissue ligaments and chemo for her lungs, but they have failed to ward off the illness.

Doctors are uncertain exactly how long Katelyn has to live.

"She doesn't let the fact that the doctors said she won't last very long bother her," her friend Brandon said. "She has an attitude that, 'I'm Katelyn. I'm bald, I'm beautiful and I will beat this'."


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