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Hospital Hosts Teen Prom

Strong Kids Newsletter

CMNH Telethon celebrates 30th anniversary


Hospital prom aims to fill void of missed milestones

There are few events in a young person’s life that are anticipated quite as much as the prom, but too many young people in treatment at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center, miss big events like that. That’s why an insightful group of teen patients from the hospital’s Council for Adolescent Voices and Experiences (CAVE) decided they needed a prom just for those kids.

On June 8, the Flaum Atrium at the University of Rochester Medical Center was transformed into a Candy Land and more than 40 teenage patients and their friends came to dance, play games and revel in being young. A couple dozen volunteer faculty and staff soaked up the joy, too.

“The smiles on their faces made this past year of planning and work worth every bump in the road,” said Jessica Biondi, a child life specialist and the event coordinator. “They had so much fun and they bonded with other teens who have gone through similar things.”

A few hours before the event, Artistic Designs Hair Salon set up shop in a conference room in the hospital and styled the hair of almost dozen of the young ladies attending the prom. Laura Robinson, a staff member in the Division of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and a Mary Kay consultant, helped the girls with their makeup. The community donated dresses and nail polish, too.

Shawna Carwardine, 18, a member of CAVE, brought her own dress, but with some coaxing (maybe a lot), she got her hair and her makeup done for the night.

Seeley Taylor, 15, didn’t take part in the pre-prom primping, but she was very excited to come to the prom itself. She missed a milestone dance her freshman year after she fell in a creek and broke her pelvis.

“You don’t realize how much happens in school until you miss it,” Seeley said.

Seeley had a blast dancing, but she said one of her favorite moments of the night was the lipsynching contest. The teens performed “Call Me Maybe” and Adam Turner won with his “vocal stylings.” The thing that had the kids cracking up was the adult volunteers had their own contest, using “Born This Way,” and Michael Leonard, M.D., chief quality officer for the hospital, won, hands down.

“They were really into it and had fun, which encouraged the kids to have fun too,” Seeley said.

Special thanks to the sponsors and donors that made the first-ever children’s hospital prom possible:

  • Salvatores (Webster)
  • DJ Fly Guy Lui
  • Hospital units 4-1400, 4-1600, 4-3600, PICU, PCICU, Outpatient Clinic and Surgical Suite
  • Jacquelyn Beck
  • Ann Lenane
  • Laura Robinson
  • Michael Leonard
  • Bill Varade
  • Allen Family
  • James Kenneth Studios
  • Barbara Asselin
  • Denise Clough
  • Bob Larter
  • Double H Ranch
  • Anna Dehond
  • Applied Auto
  • Eugene Daughtery
  • Jessica Shand
  • Laurie Johnson
  • Amanda Sparrin
  • Julie Pietraszewski
  • Pam and Neil Herendeen
  • Lorena Ganzihi
  • Brian and his team from Artistic Designs Hair Salon
  • Lorena Ganzihi
  • Mary Caserta
  • Dan Herzog of Blue Apple Productions
  • Linda Morrison of CURE Childhood Cancer
  • Jon Yates of DJJD
  • Ayesa N. Mian

To help out next year, please email Jessie Biondi at