There were streamers, music and an excited crowd ready to see some fancy dance moves. There was even a tiny disco ball, spinning lights around the room. For a short time on Saturday night, Sept. 24, the third floor waiting room at Mercy Children’s Hospital was transformed in a magical way.
Jake Dennison, 15, a sophomore at Parkway West High School, had been all set to take girlfriend Desi Luleff, 17, to the school's Homecoming Dance on Sept. 24. But as the date grew near, it became apparent that Jake would not be spending the evening as planned. After more than two weeks in the hospital due to complications with his cerebral palsy, Jake was not well enough to leave for the dance. So Mercy Children’s Hospital brought the dance to him.
"The staff here really went all out to make this a special night for Jake and Desi," says Dawne Luleff, the mother of Jake's girlfriend, Desi Luleff, who also has cerebral palsy. "She's been typing 'He looks so handsome!' into her iPad all night."
With a crowd of family, school teachers and Mercy Children's Hospital staff looking on, Jake and Desi kept their date in a third-floor waiting room all decked out for Homecoming. Jake's mother even pulled him up from his wheelchair long enough to enjoy a very special dance with her son.
"It was so nice to be able to help him have this experience, and it was great to allow his parents see him so happy," says Jake’s RN, Melissa Bowen. Bowen and Child Life specialist Tara Daniel worked with nurses, patient care associates and the children's parents to make their night magical. Pediatric Hospitalist Mary Beth Chismarich, MD, even gave Jake a haircut. "Every day we try to be compassionate toward our patients and to treat each of them individually. We do whatever we can to make sure our patients feel happy and comfortable. Going the extra mile is part of what makes us Mercy."
NewsChannel 5 reporter Alex Fees was also on hand to share the special evening with KSDK viewers. Click HERE to see his news coverage.