When a hospitalized high school student couldn’t make it to his senior ball, his mom and friends didn’t want him to miss out. So they brought the party to him instead.
Ilijah Barron, 19, a senior at Liverpool High School in Liverpool, N.Y., has been battling bone cancer for the last 18 months, Syracuse.com reported. While he was excited for the ball – and even bought a new suit to wear – he was hit with debilitating pain on Thursday, just two days before the event, and had to return to Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. for care.
But Ilijah’s mother wasn’t about to let the teenager feel like he skipped out on an important high school milestone.
“That broke him into pieces,” his mom, Nelisha Barron, told Syracuse.com. “I decided I would try with everything in me to make him happy so he wouldn’t miss that moment. I decided it was going to happen!”
A heartwarming video posted to Facebook by Syracuse.com proves that Nelisha was successful in her efforts. The video shows Ilijah’s friends — other Liverpool High School seniors — in the hospital Saturday afternoon. They were decked out in suits and dresses in a room complete with everything from tablecloths and china to a “prom 2019” sign at the door.
According to Syracuse.com, Ilijah and his friends “dined on Dinosaur Bar-B-Que pulled pork and ribs, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese” and played music on a student’s cell phone.
In the video, Ilijah is seen getting emotional at their kind gesture.
"I loved it,” he told Syracuse.com. “It was the most special moment ever. Having everybody there, all my friends. And it was my first high school dance.”
His mother told the news outlet that so many people worked together to make it happen — the school, his friends and the hospital staff.
Ryan McGowan and Kaleb Ohlemacher, two of Ilijah’s close friends, said there was no way they were going to let their friend get distraught if he needed to be in the hospital.
"Ilijah loves to dress up, and this ball became very important to him, so we didn’t want him to miss out on it,'' McGowan told Syracuse.com. “There’s nothing any one of us wouldn’t do for him,” Ohlemacher added.
Yahoo Lifestyle did not immediately receive a response from Nelisha, but she shared on Facebook that the two boys have been instrumental in keeping up their friends’ spirits, showing up by his side whenever they can.
His friends weren’t the only ones who promised to be by his side. School staff expressed how they wanted to help Ilijah however they could. Liverpool High School counselor Tiffany Heffron told Syracuse.com that there was “never any question – we had to make this happen for him.”
Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and Liverpool High School did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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