For one precious night, movie star Jack Black helped more than 300 teens forget about dialysis and renal disease and enjoy a right of passage most kids take for granted—the prom.
Sandra Soto of Las Vegas drove daughter Rebecca, 19, a three-time kidney transplantee, over 270 miles to attend her first prom,
held at Notre Dame High School. “It was so exciting watching her get ready and put on makeup and a fancy dress,” she said through tears. “Just seeing her face when Jack Black appeared was amazing. We appreciate life so much more because of what she’s been through.”
Maria Curiel, 19, was part of the crowd that erupted into cheers and fist pumps Sunday evening when Black arrived in a mask and surprised them with photos, personal autographs and an a cappella concert at the 11th annual Renal Teen Prom, presented by the Renal Support Network (RSN) of Glendale, CA.
Curiel, of Los Angeles, says the prom is a chance to experience normal teen life. “It’s fun to go to a real prom with other people who understand what I’m going through,” she said. “I missed a lot of high school because of dialysis.” Curiel—attending her 4th renal prom—was eager to share news of her recent kidney transplant.
The teens—hailing from across California and the southwest—had their makeup done, danced to a DJ, ate renal-friendly food, and partook in limo rides and a photo booth—all at no cost. Even the dresses, ties and rides to the prom were donated by volunteers.
Lori Hartwell, founder and president of RSN, created the Renal Teen Prom in 2000 because she missed her own prom due to chronic kidney disease. “I spent all my teenage years on dialysis. It’s so important for these kids to get together, because they can feel so isolated,” she said. “Being with hundreds of kids who have gone through something similar makes them happy and creates friendships that last a lifetime.”
Find out more about RSN’s Renal Teen Prom
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