Prom To Remember Is Just That For Dolphins Players

Posted May 13, 2013

Special night for teens fighting cancer resonates with football stars.

Limousines and an Oscar-style red carpet helped transform The Ritz-Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach into a spectacular high school prom last Friday night – and the eight Miami Dolphins players on hand willfully played second fiddle.

This night was all about the close to 200 teens from the tri-county area getting to leave their hospital beds, where they fight a daily battle with cancer, and be regular students attending the signature event of the school year. It’s called “A Prom To Remember” and in its fourth year has grown in pomp and circumstance.

Throughout the entire day, from time spent in area salons getting their hair and make-up done to the limo ride to The Ritz-Carlton, these special teens got to feel like celebrities and not have to worry about their illness. It was all about the walk down the red carpet, the lavish dinner and of course the dancing, all of which made other proms look relatively tame.

Kicker Dan Carpenter and long snapper John Denney were part of the event last year. Carpenter had an easy time convincing center Mike Pouncey, cornerback Brent Grimes, defensive end Olivier Vernon, punter Brandon Fields, running back Lamar Miller and offensive lineman Nate Garner to participate as red carpet escorts.

“Obviously, these kids are making the best of their situation and the cards they’ve been dealt with,” Carpenter said. “You don’t have a choice whether you have cancer or not, it’s just something that’s given to you or not. It’s kind of a rolodex of misfortune I guess, so this gives these teens a great chance to come and forget about all of the troubles they’re going through and actually get a better prom than most people do. We have just as much fun as they do and anything that we can do to help and make their night more special, that’s what we’re here for.”

Judging by the looks on the faces of the girls and boys dressed to the nines and taking in the oceanfront view from the fourth floor, the night was a huge success. All of the planning that went into every detail by The Unforgettable Prom Foundation paid off, including the use of T.D. the Mascot, Miss South Florida, Miss Florida USA, Miss Florida Teen USA, Miss Coral Gables, Miss Coral Gables Teen and Miss Miami Lakes Teen as additional escorts.

Some of the guests of honors were so focused on the fun they were about to have and on seeing some of their friends from other hospitals that they didn’t even pay attention to who their escorts were. There were eight area hospitals represented – Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Miami Children’s Hospital, Baptist Children’s Hospital, Palms West Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Holtz Children’s Hospital and Alex’s Place at UM/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“It was so much fun,” said Sydney Lister, a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale who was attending her second Prom To Remember. “It was like actually walking down the real red carpet. Last year was fantastic and this year is even better.”

Grimes has been busy getting adjusted to his new surroundings after coming over from the Atlanta Falcons and looking at houses while learning Miami’s playbook at the same time. This was the first chance he had to join some of his new teammates outside of the weight room and the practice facility.

An event like this particular one is right up Grimes’ alley and he really embraced his role as he walked girl after girl down the red carpet.

“My wife is definitely big on causes like this and once I saw what it was for I knew I definitely wanted to be a part of it,” Grimes said. “This is a good first event to do because this is a great cause and it’s a great idea to do something like this.”

All of the players felt the same way and the event organizers could sense their passion and appreciated their involvement.

“We’ve actually had the Dolphins involved every year and they’ve been great,” said Brandon Opre, founder and president of A Prom To Remember. “It seems to get better and better every year. You can’t ask for a better venue. We have the best entertainment. We have the best sponsors helping support it and we have kids from all over South Florida here having a great time. It’s great to see them smile.”

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