Prom is a special night for every high school attendee, even for those that don't go out of rebellion it is an important night to miss. For those that do go it's a glamorous night of tradition and farewell followed by one of the last nights to party with the whole class, despite different social circles. There is also, the rare occasion, where prom means a whole lot more. That was the case for Catherine Malatesta.
This story follows the end of 16 year old Catherine Malatesta too short life, and the heart touching tribute her last prom dress became. The story of Catherine's beautiful blue prom dress that she wore with enthusiasm despite great sickness.
What made this story so amazing and special was Catherine's friends and how they took her last moments of bliss and happiness and turned them into a tribute and symbol of hope through great pain and sickness. They used her much loved prom dress to do this.
Catherine was a 16-year-old student in Arlington, Massachusetts. At age fifteen she was diagnosed with Epithelioid Sarcoma that had spread to her spine and lungs. Despite her horrible circumstance, like any teenager, she was excited for her prom but not sure whether she could go or not.
Despite her desperate health and draining illness, Catherine's mind remained relatively unaffected by the cancer. Once she found out she could be discharged for one night to attend her prom, she was ecstatic. She wanted to enjoy every moment of her special night, and her mind remained unaffected by the fear of her condition.
Like any teenager, she spent her prom day dressing up and getting her make-up and hair done. Her mother recounted heart wrenchingly that Catherine said to her "Mom, for the first time in a long time, I actually feel beautiful."
It wasn't just a happy day for Catherine but for everyone that loved her, her family and friends too. Her mother added about the night "It was such a lovely moment, and I was so happy that she felt like that for one day. It was a special, special night for all of us."
She chose a stunning dark blue dress for her prom night. She had her hair done in in a braided updo style and looked absolutely gorgeous. To add to the picture-perfect night, she had a handsome date on her arm to dance the night away with.
Catherine did not waste the few years she had. "Catherine was an incredible student, a hard worker; she was kind and quick to give a compliment," mother, Jenifer Goodwin, said. She was a kind and sharing girl that took her studies seriously.
She took on extracurricular activities too, including riding crew and playing field hockey. It was towards the end of fall 2014's field hockey season that Catherine felt some shoulder pain that she figured was a sports-related injury, but unfortunately, it was something much worse.
In December that year, Catherine was diagnosed when they found a tumour under her armpit. During her hospitalisation, she still tried to keep up. She continued to study for AP class and even recorded a campaign speech for student council president that she won.
Catherine kept a good attitude and continued to hope. Even through tough treatments like Chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy she persevered. She continued to attend school when she could going on several college tours and appeared in the school play.
Just 4 days after the May 29 prom, Catherine was admitted Boston Children's Hospital on August 2. There she died. Less than a year after her diagnoses, Catherine was gone from us. Her beautiful friends did not let her memory pass with her.
Catherine's life and strength through her sickness inspired her friends, and in return they decided to honour her with a tribute. It started with Julian who was a year younger than Catherine and wore her blue dress to her junior prom.
The gown was then worn by three of Catherine's friends who wanted to continue the tribute and keep Catherine's spirit alive. The gown was next worn by Emma Schambers to the East Greenwich High School senior prom, followed by Lauren Hourican, who wore it to Arlington's senior prom. And, Carly Blau wore it to the Beverly High School senior prom.
The tribute has touched her family. Her mother said "For a parent who has lost a child, the hardest part is you think people are going to forget about them. It's important for the parent to keep that spirit alive. The fact that this group of girls wants to do this on their own just helps me to grieve and helps me to move forward."