Wednesday, December 10, 2014

From Hospital Gown to Prom Gown

On Friday, May 16, 2014, Lacey Bennett, a senior at Waynesboro Area Senior High School was walking with her friends at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Greencastle, Pa. Everything was going as usual. She and her friends were talking about the prom that would take place the following day.

Lacey had her dress ready. She knew how she would wear her hair, and her date had plans to meet her at her house for photos. Saturday was going to be memorable – Lacey just didn’t know exactly how memorable it was going to be.

What happened?

“I had done relay for life since middle school,” Lacey said. “I’ve known a lot of family members and close friends who have lost their battles with cancer or who are survivors. A group of friends and I go every year. We were there early to set up, and everything was going normal.”

After she and a friend completed the “Remembrance Lap”, they went to the food line to get a snack.

“I was in the line, and out of nowhere, I had a sharp pain in my stomach. I was nauseous, dizzy, and I had to sit down. I told my friend ‘something’s up.’”

Lacey thought rest would help, so her friend helped her to their tent. “I remember lying down in the tent, and then I remember walking to the ambulance. I had passed out.”

Lacey had some tests done at Chambersburg Hospital, and then was transferred to Chambersburg Hospital for more tests early on Saturday morning
Lacey was unable to see clearly, and couldn’t walk or talk well when she first arrived at the hospital, but the symptoms slowly began to go away.

What about the prom?

“I wasn’t really focused on prom,” she said. “If I could just talk and walk and get out of bed, I’d be happy.”

As Lacey’s symptoms improved, and the nurses in the critical care unit at Chambersburg Hospital learned that Lacey was going to miss her senior prom, without hesitation, the nurses went into action.

Lacey’s mother, Nancy, received a call Saturday afternoon from Lacey’s nurse.

“The nurse called me and asked if they could throw Lacey a prom,” Nancy said. “They asked me to bring all of the things she would need – her dress, shoes, and accessories. I gathered it all and went to the hospital.”

Lacey didn’t know about this surprise.

“I was just starting to get back on my feet,” Lacey said. “ I’m so glad they did this for me. I’ll never forget this.”

According to Lacey and Nancy, the nurses decorated a conference area at the end of a hallway on Lacey’s unit.

The nurses had some extra help. “One nurse called and asked her mom to go to the Dollar store and get paper lanterns, flowers and confetti,” Lacey said with a smile. “It was really well decorated – you wouldn’t have known you were in a hospital.”

A Night to Remember

“It was so pretty,” Nancy said. “When I think about doctors and nurses, I think they have to always be so serious and focused on medicine to take care of patients, but I realized, that things like this, like throwing my daughter a prom because she was missing hers, is just another way they take care of their patients. It was very nice. They went above and beyond to care for my daughter physically and emotionally. We are both so grateful. ”

Lacey’s date was told of the situation, and was redirected to meet Lacey at the hospital. The two were able to have pictures taken in their formal attire and then danced the night away.

Although Lacey’s senior prom didn’t go as planned, “it turned out to be very memorable anyway, thanks to the people at Chambersburg Hospital,” Lacey said.

Lacey was released from the hospital and was able to graduate with her class on Friday, June 6.
On July 2, Lacey Bennett and her mom returned to the Chambersburg Hospital to say a special thank you to the nurses who were so kind to her.

“We just wanted to come back to say how much we appreciated all they did for me,” Lacey said. “I’ll never forget it.”

The joyful reunion was filled with hugs and smiles. Lacey and Nancy are so grateful for the care and support they felt while Lacey was in the hospital.

Thank you Lacey and Nancy Bennett for sharing your story!

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