16-year-old, Catherine Malatesta is a beautiful sight in her dark blue gown and fancy, braided hair just before her junior prom. You would never know that only a few short months earlier she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and has been fighting for her life ever since.
A Dream PromHowever, she was released from the hospital just one day before her prom because all she wanted was to feel like a normal teenager again and was thrilled by the opportunity to take part in this memorable evening.
A Normal TeenShe underwent chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy, yet none of them seemed to work. That didn’t stop Catherine from having a positive outlook on life and striving to be her very best self. She was on numerous sports teams and won the election for student council president, which she recorded her thank you speech from her hospital bed. Unfortunately, Catherine passed away two months after her prom. Her mother, Jennifer Goodwin told Today “She turned to me and said, ‘Mom, for the first time in a long time, I actually feel beautiful.’ 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.”
Hard WorkerShe underwent chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy, yet none of them seemed to work. That didn’t stop Catherine from having a positive outlook on life and striving to be her very best self. She was on numerous sports teams and won the election for student council president, which she recorded her thank you speech from her hospital bed. Unfortunately, Catherine passed away two months after her prom. Up until her diagnosis, Catherine led a very active life and played many sports. In the beginning, she was complaining about shoulder pain and thought that it was due to a sport injury. Back in December 2014 she was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma which is a rare cancer only affecting 1 in 10 million people and that it had already spread to different parts of her body including her lungs and spine. Sadly, Catherine passed away just 2 months after her prom. However, you can be sure that she lived her life with enough passion and love that take most of us take a lifetime to achieve. Her battle with cancer lasted less than a year from the time she was diagnosed until she passed away the following August 2nd.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Prom DressHer first friend to honor her was Jillian Danton. The two of them were life long friends who also played sports together. Jillian was one year younger and said that Catherine was like a big sister to her. Jillian said to Today. “l definitely felt her with me the whole time and it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. It’s an extra memory of her that I have to hold on to.” Her presence was also felt by her mother when she saw her friend wearing her daughter’s dress. “It was clearly bittersweet but it just was lovely to see her in it. I felt like for a second I was seeing Catherine.”
A Beautiful Memory“For a parent who has lost a child, the hardest part is you think people are going to forget about them,” she said. “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.” They will each have it tailor fitted to their body type and Catherine’s mom will take care of dry cleaning and delivery duties. There are other friends who are inspired to wear the dress in the future as well. This dress could last through several more prom seasons and everyone is grateful for the opportunity to honor their friend Catherine.