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Hundreds attend Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Prom for patients and families

Prom at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia provides a sense of normalcy for patients, families
Prom at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia provides a sense of normalcy for patients, families 02:40

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- This prom season, patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia aren't missing out.

Kids miss out on a lot when they're hospitalized, along with not feeling good. But on Wednesday at CHOP, it was party time. 

The pampering starts with bright and sparkly nail polish. Lia Szewczak, 7, got all ready for a prom from her bed at CHOP. She was hospitalized and diagnosed with Crohn's disease. 

"It speaks to CHOP how kind they are," Stephanie Szewczak, Lia's mother, said. "Trying to make it special not scary, right?"

With a few finishing touches, Lia Szewczak is ready for the party. 

This is the first time since the pandemic that CHOP's annual Joshua Kahan Fund Prom for patients and their families was held with a big group in the atrium. Hundreds were in attendance. 

"It's just really important to normalize being in hospital and celebrate big milestones that they're not getting to experience by being here with us," Kiersten Ferguson said. 

Different in-patient units have similar mini-proms to guard against infection.

"Still working on those medical needs but allowing them to experience prom," Ferguson said. 

Patients of all ages, with a variety of conditions, got some welcome distractions at this party filled with fun games and activities.

Danielle Winkler, a 17-year-old patient at CHOP, said it was nice to have a redo because she had to leave her junior prom early due to her condition. 

Winkler prepped and posed for pictures and finally got to enjoy a prom, even though she was hospitalized.

"It's epic," she said.

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