Pretty little, not necessarily black dresses, and fancy long gowns are not just the sight you will see at the 2nd Annual Queen City Mom Prom. Rather you would see fabulously-clad and made-up Moms stylishly strutting in their equally fabulous high heels ready to party and have a grand time. It's definitely not your typical highschool Prom. Not even close. These women come together, not just to party but ideally to support, recognize and fight! Yes fight. Fight that which is pediatric cancer. And in the forefront of this event is, Toyota.
|Toyota Sienna -- my favorite van standing mighty and proud at the entrance to the event|
According to Mike Arning, Event Head Media Relations, "Toyota helped Queen City Mom Prom's success this year as being the major sponsor, which enabled them [QCMP] to host 325 women in a sold-out ticket event!". And added, "This is a great change from last year where QCMP wasn't able to sell all their tickets."
I have always admired Toyota's philanthropic works. Being part of their now defunct TWIN [Toyota Women Influencers Network], I had come to know Toyota's core beliefs and their Kaizen philosophy. It's no surprise to see them supporting a cause like QCMP. Working on several philanthropic missions myself, I didn't think twice when I was asked to cover their event in their behalf. It's one of those things you just gotta have to go, see and experience! -- Even when I heard myself saying, "Uh-oh! Not a Prom." And the thought of dressing up and wearing heels literally gave me a nightmare!
Event HighlightsRecognition of 5 Prom Queens was the ultimate culmination of the night -- 5 Moms whose children have battled or are battling cancer. As each moms are called up to the stage, last year's Prom Queen honors the new inductees with an orange sash while the recipient's photos played in a slideshow. If I tell you that there was none who did not shed a tear that moment, believe it. It was a moment of tears, sad tears and happy tears.
|Melissa Gibbs, Spokesmom, daughter-in-law of NFL Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs which I met last year, |
commencing the recognition ceremony of the 5 Prom Queens.
|2013 Prom Queen Maggie Lawson|
Her 5 year old son has Stage IV Hepatoblasma (liver cancer). Founded Jackson Laskowski
Keep HOPE Alive Fund three years ago.
|Mother and Daughter|
2013 Prom Queen Marnae Costa is being honored by her daughter Torie,
who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Rhabdomysarcoma in June 2012.
|2013 Prom Queen Ann Dang (left)|
Her son Carter is currently battling Stage 4 Neuroblastoma diagnosed in November 2011.
|2013 Prom Queen Jackie Thorne|
Her son Christopher was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma when
he was 16 months but sadly succumbed to the disease at 2 years old last year.
|2013 Prom Queen Dana Nino|
Her daughter Christen had Burkitts Lymphoma in 2011 and now is in remission.
Each story gets ingrained not only in your mind but in your heart. As a mom, these are hard facts that you wish it never or doesn't happen but it's always a comfort to know that there are other moms out there helping you fight the fight.
And where there is sadness there is happiness. And hope...
And then of course, what's a prom without dancing, kick-off-your-shoes, let-loose-and-just-party party? Yes! You got it! And busting it out on the dance floor with your bare feet is highly encouraged too! Booyah!
AfterthoughtThough I was more of an spectator rather than a participant of the event, it was inspiring to see how the whole event played out in front of my eyes. And though the only not-so-pleasant experience is to be told so many times by the event's frantic and overly-hyper photographer to move out of her way while I was taking official shots to cover the event in behalf of Toyota at the same time, everything else was well. I may come back as an attendee next year and round up my mom gang!
My experience may as well be different. We'll see.
|@ the PINK carpet lighted with Luminaries in honor of those that battled cancer.|
|Luminaries are lighted at approximately 9:30 PM|