Natasha Starkey has been bedridden since January struggling with a condition called epidermolysis bullosa, but she finally got to have a night out.
Well, this story made me cry. Natasha is 19 years old and in the usual course of things she'd be at school, making friends and thinking about the future. Instead, she's been in the hospital for 6 months, dealing with a painful and incurable skin condition. Epidermolysis bullosa or "butterfly skin" is a genetic disease that causes the skin to thin, blister and tear easily. It's extremely painful and even slight friction can cause serious issues.
One good thing to come out of this is the relationship she's developed with her many specialists and nurses at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. They, along with Natasha's mother, started talking about getting Natasha to prom. It was a wish she'd been expressing for a number of years. The hard part was figuring out if she could go for an extended period of time without the pain drip she was constantly hooked up to at the hospital. They started experimenting to see if she could go longer and longer without it. When she hit the 6 hour mark, it was confirmed: Natasha was going to prom!
Get that crown, girl. (screenshot via Cincinnati's Children's Hospital)
Everyone pitched in to get her ready, including teaching her some dance moves:
Looks like the Macarena? (screenshot via Cincinnati's Children's Hospital)
Natasha got a makeover from the staff, saying how she doesn't often experience dressing up and feeling pretty. She is also frequently isolated from other young people, so just attending the prom with other teenagers was a big deal. Listening to Natasha speak will make you admire her resilience and appreciation of the small gifts life has to offer. As her doctor says in the video:
There's gotta be dreams, there's gotta be things to do that are fun and good, in the deep sense.
Here's hoping that more of those things come Natasha's way.