Prom season is just around the corner, and high school girls have been studying and planning their dancing duds and hair updos for months ahead. But the truth of the matter is getting ready for the event is not a cheap undertaking and is actually prohibitive for some young people. But thanks to a group of local Fairy Godmothers, one Stephenville High School girl will be able to play Cinderella at next month's prom.
G.T.L Salon owner Crystal Ramirez decided to address the expense issue head on by putting together a prom package contest for a lucky high schooler from the area.
"My coworker, Michelle, and I never did go to prom," she said. "We were unable to afford it and felt that with hard times going on, it had to be difficult for parents to pay for everything."
The two stylists posted the contest on the salon's Facebook page and waited for the nominations to come in.
In time the name Madalyn Bryant was submitted and selected, and the Fairy Godmother Prom Project was set into motion.
Lisa Belding, a friend of Madalyn's mother, Marie MacDonald, suggested the junior who she felt was deserving of the gift.
"I thought of her as the perfect one," Belding explained. "She was the only person I knew who was of the right age and met the criteria."
Life hasn't been easy for the 17 year old, who at the tender age of 11 developed an unusual condition called idiopathic chondrolysis. The joint degenerative condition seems to primarily affect young people and settles into the hip joint.
"I remember having pain in my hip," Madalyn recalled. "I knew something was wrong, but my mom just thought I was being overdramatic – which I totally understand because I was such a hypochondriac."
By the time she was 14, Madalyn had undergone hip replacement, which improved her range of motion. But her story didn't end there as she was to subsequently develop scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.
"The scoliosis is not connected to the idiopathic chondrolysis," McDonald reported. "The doctors had never seen the two conditions together before."
As a result, Madalyn had to go through yet another surgery in January to address the spine issue.
Medical expenses had made the thought of Madalyn attending the prom an impossibility. But thanks to Ramirez's idea, she will get to take part in the rite of spring enjoyed by so many teenage girls across the country.
The package awarded to Madalyn will provide her with a complete salon makeover, including a manicure and hair styling. Local dress boutique the Fancy Pheasant will provide her with a dress and shoes. Flowers Etc. is donating a corsage and boutonniere. And a car wash fundraiser spearheaded by G.T.L. collected $340 for additional expenses related to the prom.
Madalyn admitted she was looking forward to the dance, even though she had not initially been interested in attending.
"I am really grateful for everything," she said. "I didn't think I wanted to go, but now after all this I am actually getting excited."