After five grueling months fighting cancer, 18-year-old Hannah Tate got a huge pick-me-up on Saturday from celebrity hairstylist Tokyo Stylez, who treated her to a gorgeous prom makeover. Photos by WATE 6.
Hannah Tate thought she was answering the door to sign for a FedEx package on Saturday. But when the high school senior saw celebrity hairstylist Tokyo Stylez and his glam squad standing on the stoop of her Alcoa, Tenn. home, ready to give her a makeover for her prom on Saturday, she was floored. “It was the best surprise ever!” the 18-year-old tells Yahoo Parenting of the moment, which her mom caught on video (in the YouTube clip below). “I know he is always busy working and for him to go out of his way to come see me was just crazy.”
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Crazy thoughtful, that is. Tate, who has been battling a rare kidney cancer since November and lost her hair going through chemotherapy, had reached out to the stylist on Instagram to ask him for a wig for her prom. Then, unbeknownst to her, Stylez began coordinating with Tate’s mom, LaVetta Spann, to personally deliver the wig on the day of the dance.
Spann and Tate earlier this year. Photo by WATE 6.
“Never in a million years did I expect he would honor her request like that and bring along his whole team, with a makeup artist and everything,” Spann tells Yahoo Parenting. “It was really hard to keep it a secret.”
Keeping it under wraps got especially difficult earlier in the week. “Hannah had a few days in the hospital when she wasn’t feeling good,” says Spann. “I wanted to tell her, but I just kept saying to hang in there for the prom because you’ll be blown away. She’d ask, ‘Why? How?’ But I just kept encouraging her without saying anything about it.”
Tate admits that during those days, she worried she wouldn’t be able to make it to the dance. She was having fevers and, to top it all off, dental surgery on Thursday. “I was scared prom just wouldn’t work out,” she admits. “But my doctors did everything they could to get me out for it because they knew it meant a lot to me.”
Photo of Tate getting styled by WATE 6.
And when Stylez and his team settled in with the teen at home to transform her on the big day, Tate wasn’t the only one welling up. “She teared up and cried a little bit,” the hairstylist, who has worked with Rihanna, Naomi Campbell and Gabrielle Union, tells WATE 6. “I didn’t want her to because I didn’t want to cry. It’s like a once in a lifetime thing. You only go to your senior prom once, so to be a part of it is something that she’ll always remember.”
Once the pros had worked their magic, Tate was transformed from a hospital patient to a prom princess. “It felt awesome, everything was just so great,” she says. “Some friends didn’t even know who I was at first.”
Photo by WATE 6.
Being with those friends and family is what meant the most to Tate, though. “I don’t get to come home much with all of my treatments, so it’s hard,” says the teen, who bunks at the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis near St. Jude Regional Children’s Hospital, where she’s being doing her 25 weeks of treatment. She’s now in week 15, with an anticipated release of mid-June. “This is just the second or third time that I’ve been able to go home,” she says.
“She’s so strong,” Spann says of her daughter, who is on track to graduate May 15. “I’m extremely proud of her. She’s got her A’s and B’s and she’s doing really well in school considering she’s been in the hospital.”
Photo by WATE 6.
Yet before she puts on her mortarboard, Tate will be hitting another prom, at the hospital, on April 16. That’s because NFL vet Terrell Owens — whom Tate recently talked with after Owens learned that she was a fan — vowed via Instagram: “If her prom date falls through…I would gladly be her date.” But even with such a dashing prospect, Tate tells Yahoo Parenting, “I don’t think you can top my prom. It was just everything.”