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The hospital school’s prom celebration is called an “event to look forward to, not because the kids are in the hospital, but because they deserve to be regular kids.”

The transformation of a hospital cafeteria into “An Evening at the Oasis” wowed over 150 special guests last Friday night at the 11th annual hospital school prom. With the school year coming to a close, the prom invites kids of all ages who have attended the hospital school this year to the event of the season.

Guests stepped off the elevator into a dramatically draped sunset orange hallway, with matching balloons and white lanterns lining the ceiling. First to greet them was a large stuffed camel, a magnet for selfies. Down the corridor they entered a market bazaar, a feast for the eyes with colors and textures. The main room was abuzz with activity, food, drinks, photo opps, games and of course, the DJ dance floor. Outside on the patio, guests enjoyed an array casino and carnival games and a beautifully decorated desert oasis tent, with rugs and cushions and lanterns.

For kids like 14-year-old Jeremy from Chester, CA, who is awaiting a heart transplant, prom was a way to do “regular kid stuff” and just be with friends he’s met at the hospital school. “I’m excited to go with my friends and hang out, we are all here for different reasons but we can relate to each other,” said Jeremy.

Jeremy has been at the hospital since last October, and school here has been an enjoyable part of a long wait for a donor heart. Now he says, “It feels normal to go to a school at the same place where I get my blood drawn.”

Many took the opportunity to get dressed up, with hair and makeup, suits and gowns. Some opted for casual, but all found reasons to smile and have fun. The teachers and volunteers were festively adorned in colorful garb and it was clear they were having a blast. Kathy Ho, teacher and prom organizer extraordinaire said of the event, “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.”

This is the 11th year the school has hosted a prom. The school relies on a large group of volunteers to pull off the event; over 100 volunteers, including representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hewlett-Packard, helped to make this a memorable event for the school’s students and their guests.

Check out the Prom 2015 photo album on our Facebook page.