Riley Hospital for Children cancer patients shop for upcoming prom

150 patients, families expected to attend

INDIANAPOLIS - An upscale department store built inside Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health is providing smiles for children fighting cancer and their siblings.

The children are shopping for the bling they need for the 4th annual Riley Cancer Center Prom.

It's expected that 150 patients and their families will attend the prom, which has an "Under the Sea" theme this year.

Volunteers with Women for Riley have donated their time and money to pull off the event, and local groups have donated everything children will need to dazzle.

"We see parents in tears. We see so much excitement. We see girls twirl in front of the three-way mirror. We've had them say, 'I feel so beautiful,'" said Betsy Lasky, of Women for Riley. "If you've ever hand anybody in the hospital, you know what even just one great day can mean. So this is what we're trying to do."

From street clothes, to dress, to fabulous dress, the transformation brings smiles, something that Courtney Ray and her daughter, Olivia, 3, could use. Olivia receives chemotherapy every three weeks.

"You can just see it in her eyes. She's having a lot of fun, blossoming," Ray said.

Olivia decided on a sparkly number, paired with classic pearls and a "statement" ring, creating a reflection that is perfect at any angle.

"It's nice to not think about other stuff and have a day to ourselves," Ray said.

Alena Damer, 11, loves to shop, especially for this occasion, but she's thinking of others.

"They kind of are going through a lot, like I am, chemo, all that stuff. So, it's kind of important, because then they get something to look forward to in their life," Damer said.

Shopping will continue on Friday, and the prom is May 3. On the day of the prom, girls and their mothers will get to go to a day spa to get their hair and nails done.

Riley will start collecting for next year's prom in the fall, and the collection will run through January.

Anyone who would like to donate or learn more information can get it at

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