Her hands were shaking as she stared at herself in the mirror. This was the night she’d been dreading for so long. She felt like she couldn’t breathe as panic pumped through her veins. A hot flush was slowly creeping up her sweaty neck.
She looked down as a single tear rolled down her cheek. Rubbing at her wet cheeks, she left the room, sobbing as she ran to her mom. But she had no idea that just then, a group of bikers was about to knock on her door.
Shannon Purcifer was just like any other 16-year-old girl. She couldn’t wait for prom. She was excited to spend a night out with her boyfriend in a beautiful dress.
But things would become a lot more complicated than she thought they would. For years now, Shannon had been struggling with a variety of health conditions. But surprisingly, her illnesses weren’t what was stopping her from having her dream prom night.
At Its Worst
Shannon was fighting a brutal battle against celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It was no surprise that she had spent years in and out of the hospital because of these illnesses.
To make things were, the people in her school had no sympathy for Shannon or her illnesses. She got bullied on a daily basis and it had been going on for years. It felt like things couldn’t get any worse than this.
Ulcerative colitis is a bowel disease, in which the innermost lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed. The disease and symptoms become worse as time passes.
There is no cure for this disease. Shannon and her family had to come to terms that Shannon would be struggling with this for the rest of her life. But there was another aspect that none of them were able to accept.
Stress caused by the bullying at school would cause flare-ups with Shannon’s bowl disease, which made her condition even worse.
It was a cycle that she was forced to live with. It was astounding that she had managed to stay positive about this for so long. That is, until one horrible day.
Shannon was as excited about prom as any other girl would be. She couldn’t wait. Her and her mother had gotten her the perfect dress months in advance. The dress was floor-length and gorgeous. It had lace detailing and cost about $600.
But something happened just months before prom night, and it left Shannon’s prom dreams shattered into tiny pieces.
Shannon had three siblings and an amazing, supportive family. They helped her so much while she was struggling with her illnesses.
Her family were able to pick up on the effects that the constant bullying had on her mental health. In the weeks leading up to her prom, Shannon had grown timid and withdrawn. She wasn’t herself anymore.
Claire, her mother, watched as her attitude and behavior changed. She recalled that time in Shannon’s life, “It was horrendous,” she sighed during an interview.
Her mom had tears in her eyes as she said, “It’ was going on for so long. I tried so hard to make it stop, but the school didn’t help us. I felt powerless, really. There wasn’t anything I could do but listen to her.” But the situation reached its boiling point on the night of prom.
On prom night, Shannon shocked everyone when she revealed she’d had a change of heart. She approached her mom with tears streaming down her beautiful face and splashing across her dress.
“I didn’t really want to go and feel nervous for the entire night. I didn’t want to miss out and wanted to enjoy it with my friends, but the bullying got worse and worse.” Shannon spoke softly during an interview.
Shannon decided not to attend her prom. She thought it was for the best.
She couldn’t stand the thought of them tormenting her on one of the happiest nights of her life. But that was when her mom snapped the photo that would change everything.
Shannon’s mom decided to post the photo on Facebook. “If Shannon had gone to her prom tonight she would have worn this beautiful dress. Thanks to those mean, vile bullies Shannon decided she didn’t want to go and mix with those that made her life so unpleasant,” she wrote.
“For a girl that has had so much to deal with in life…. ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis, she is one strong young lady with an even stronger mind!! Love you girl.” Little did she know, the post would go on to touch the hearts of so many.
Kerri Louise Kimber, one of Shannon’s friends, decided that she would throw Shannon her own prom, and only those who are close to her would attend. Claire thought it was a great idea and created a Go Fund Me page to raise funds.
In just a few days, their page went beyond their goal, $650 of $195! Shannon’s prom would only have 100 people. Her entire family will also be able to join in the celebration and attend her prom with her. But that wasn’t all…
Escorted To Prom
On the night of Shannon’s special prom, she got her nails, hair, and make-up done. And when it was time for her to leave, there were 120 bikers waiting for her!
The group had seen the now-viral post and offered to personally escort her to the venue! “There’s no better way to stand up to the bullies than to go out and live life to the fullest,” Shannon’s mom explained. And Shannon described her exclusive prom as “better than I could ever have dreamed!”
Welcome To Texas
But Shannon’s story is only one in many others across America. In Texas, a boy who’d wanted anything more but to spend prom next to the girl of his dreams was turned down in the worst way possible.
To make it even more painful, prom coincided with his birthday. He thought the worst that could happen was the girl saying no. But what happened next left him beyond shattered.
Jody had always been a normal kid. At seventeen, he loved everything that boys his age enjoyed. He had an insatiable love for comic books, movies, and video games, a favorite soccer club, and an undying crush on one of his classmates.
The girl in question, Leila, wasn’t the most popular in school, although she could hold her own when standing next to them. Since Jody laid his eyes on her in fourth grade, he was smitten.
Jody had liked Leila for years without even holding a conversation with her. Although he was rarely shy, he could never bring himself to talk to her.
Everything about her disarmed Jody, from her Hollywood smile to the way she talked and the ideologies she resonated with. He knew he’d have to talk to her one day.
Around The Corner
Prom was a month away, and Jody wanted to go with no one else but Leila. He had spent enough time fantasizing about how wonderful their time together would be.
But he also feared her. He needed a foolproof plan that would help him get her attention and talk to her. If that went as he projected, it wouldn’t be long before they were at prom together.
A Good Plan
Jody’s plan was simple. He would go out of his way to be nice to Leila. But that would require approaching her first, which Jody had to work on.
He waited for classes to end and sought Leila out, finding her walking to her locker in the hallway. After a quick hi, he told her he’d brought her presents: an apple and a chocolate bar. But he wasn’t prepared for her response.
Leila accepted the presents with a bright smile. She told Jody she had been famished and was happy he’d thought of her this way. Jody couldn’t believe it.
All these years, he’d lived his life thinking Leila was someone he couldn’t approach, let alone have a conversation with, and here they were trading nutrition secrets. He had no idea what she’d do to him.
Jody and Leila started a friendship that Jody had never thought possible. He’d bring Leila presents daily, from fruits and candy to flowers.
They went from having simple conversations in the hallway to spending breaks together. Before Jody knew it, they were hanging out at the movies after school. But he wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
Jody had always dreamed of being a part of Leila’s world. He had envisioned this perfect world with her, and that’s what he got.
But he hadn’t expected to stay in the friend zone as long as he had. The plan was to make Leila notice him before he asked her out. But how could he do that now when she viewed him as a friend and nothing more?
Jody found himself back at the drawing board. He was happy with all his progress with Leila, and for the first time in a long time, he was confident that she’d say yes to him.
As before, Jody planned to be upfront. Leila was a laid-back girl who always heard him out. He planned to spend time with her before asking her to prom.
Going For It
With his plan set, Jody waited for lunch break before he could talk to Leila. He found her walking in the cafeteria, and her lips curled when she saw him approach.
After their usual banter, Jody popped his question. Leila had been smiling as he talked, nodding intently as she always did when he spoke to her. But out of nowhere, her smile morphed into a leer.
Are You Serious?
“What?” she spat, her leer holding fast. “Wait, you’re serious, aren’t you?” Jody nodded, unsure of what was happening. “Is that a ‘yes?” he asked.
“Yes?” Leila said with a laugh, snaring the attention of everyone in the cafeteria. “Have you met you? Am I not doing you enough favors by being your friend?” The whole corridor fell into thunderous laughter. But the torment had only begun.
Leila continued humiliating Jody. She called him names, saying she wouldn’t go to prom with him even if he were the last person on earth. Her words opened the dam of insults from her many friends.
It got so bad that Jody ruled out going to prom altogether. He stopped talking to Leila, although she’d burst into laughter whenever she was around him. When would the nightmares stop?
Jody turned into a laughingstock in school. The few friends he’d always had were now actively ignoring him, hoping not to be caught in the humiliation pilling on him every day.
As prom day came, Jody decided to spend the entire day playing video games at home. He spent the required day at school and quickly drove home. But things were about to change.
A Phone Call
About half an hour after getting home, he received an unexpected call. The caller was the lead cheerleader from his school, asking Jody about his home address.
Jody canceled on the spot, thinking it was a prank call to ruin the rest of his day. But his mom came into the room, informing him that a girl from his school wanted to talk to him. What was going on?
Jody gave up his address. What more could his schoolmates do to him? Nothing could hurt him more than what Leila did.
He ended the call and sat back to enjoy his video games, but an hour later, he heard vehicle horns on his front lawn. With irritation welling within him, he walked downstairs. If only he knew what awaited him.
A limousine was parked before his house and lined before it all the star cheerleaders from Jody’s high school. They all smiled as their leader came and hugged Jody, asking him if he’d go to prom with them as his dates.
Jody took a step back. Was this some sick prank to kick an already dying horse? The head cheerleader must’ve noticed him pondering the matter because she quickly cleared the matter.
Not Everyone Is Heartless
“I know how this must look,” she started. “I know how apprehensive you must be. We are here to show you that we appreciate you.” She held her hand, her lips curling, “Please say, ‘yes?”
Jody nodded, and after half an hour of emergency dress-up, he came out in a fitting suit and joined the cheerleaders in their limousine. Although their gesture didn’t take away all the pain he was going through, it showed him that not everyone in school was heartless.