TUCSON, Ariz. — What started as a high school senior project 14 years ago has grown into an annual event that brings teenagers diagnosed with terminal illnesses together.
The purpose of the Dream Night Prom is to give these adolescents a chance to forget about their treatments, medication and therapy for one night.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: Dream night prom for kids diagnosed with cancer is starting up soon! It’s an annual prom night that was started 14 years ago just as a high school project. Tonight they expect to host almost 90 people. @kgun9 pic.twitter.com/cm4OaJhxo8— Veronika Vernachio (@vvernachio) March 31, 2019
Team coordinator of Candlelighters Cancer Foundation, Louisa Diaz, leads in constructing this event and has been apart of the organization since the Dream Prom Night Started.
Diaz has experienced the dance every year as she dresses up and joins in with kids that come to their prom.
At the first annual Dream Night Prom, Louisa was crowned prom queen.
Louisa Diaz, the woman sitting in the front in the dark blue dress, attended the event for the first time 14 years ago. Ever since, she’s helped keep this prom going for all these kids. Hear her story tonight at 10 on @kgun9 pic.twitter.com/k4K3AjU6to— Veronika Vernachio (@vvernachio) March 31, 2019
"When I attended, I did the whole evening of dancing, eating, and then when it came down to the royal court I was announced queen, and that was very exciting,"said Diaz.
Diaz was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when she was 13 years old.
Diaz, who is now 29, is ten years free of cancer.
"I look at life a whole different way, life is precious, and you have to take every moment for it," said Diaz.
Louisa's mother, Maria Louisa Diaz, has come to Dream Night Prom every year with her daughter and has helped put together the dance.
Maria explained that the dance has helped shape Louisa. Maria said she sees the joy it brings Louisa to put this prom together every single year.
Maria said the journey for Louisa hasn't been easy.
"There was times she kept telling me she wanted to give up, but she stayed strong and kept going," said Maria.
The Dream Night Prom provides catered food from Panda Express and Chick-Fil-A, prizes, and pictures for those who attend.
Candleighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona is a non profit organization from Tucson.
For more information on this organization, go here.