Lee County to usher in its first special needs prom

Local News

OPELIKA, Ala. — October 14 is less than three months away, but Sharon and Dallas Henderson can hardly wait.

Dallas, an 18-year-old, has Neurofibromatosis Type 1, an unknown form of Skeletal Dysplasia that affects his growth, walking, talking and breathing. A few years ago he had a tracheostomy. However, his ailments do not prevent him from smiling ear to ear.

October 14 at the Opelika Sportsplex, Chick-Fil-A Tigertown, the Hudson Family Foundation and the Sportsplex and Aquatic Center will host the first ever Shine Prom. It is a prom for teenagers and adults with special needs. DJ Ozz will be on hand along with food, limousine rides, photographers and more. Organizers got the inspiration from Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine.

“As a parent, I already know it’s going to be tearful for a lot of us, just seeing them do the red carpet and interacting with each other,” Dallas’ mom Sharon said. “A lot of them play baseball together, so this will be a chance where they can get out, dance, shake a tail feather and have some fun.”

Fringe Consignment in Downtown Opelika is serving as a dropoff point for any donations. They are looking for any prom worthy items and accessories. Folks can drop items off during the stores normal business hours, (Mon-Sat 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and they will be kept separate from other items in the store. On September 10 and 24 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on September 20 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the store will hold private shopping events for those attending the prom to pick what they want to wear.

“To know that we can participate in this way and to allow these kids to come and shop in an environment that they maybe don’t always feel comfortable shopping in, to get to go out, go to a store, have fun, have the freedom to take dresses into a fitting room and try them on and hopefully find something they love is such an incredible feeling,” Fringe Consignment Owner Jennifer Graham said.

Henderson’s mother said that the two are thrilled for this event, and said the this event means the world to her and Dallas.

“It’s all about freedom to be who they are,” Sharon Henderson said. “They just want to be like you, like all of us just enjoying everyday life, and here’s a chance for them to make some memories.”

“Watching the smiles, hugs and love that’s going to occur that night through the Shine Prom will be priceless,” Chick-Fil-A Tigertown Marketing Director Lori Fuller said.

Registration for Lee County residents will begin on August 15. If someone attending is from Lee County, and their date is from a different county, they are still able to register on August 15. Registration for those in the rest of East Alabama will be on September 1. There is no cost to attend the event.

For more information on the event, visit http://www.shineprom.com/

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