The belle of the ball, Samantha shines in a new tiara and ball gown with the added knowledge that she made it to 17.
Born with a single-ventricle heart, Samantha has spent her whole life dealing with its challenges – hospital visits, treatments and medical tests. With the built up fear and anxiety over her life-threatening medical condition, it was time to celebrate her life and not worry about the next set of test results.
She was finally 17, and she wanted to celebrate MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” style.
Volunteers from Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley go to work to set up the luxurious party to embrace Samantha’s upcoming adulthood and wonderful future ahead – her wish come true. The volunteers shared her story with community members gaining tons of support for the party.
Jewelers for Children – a long-time supporter of Make-A-Wish – sponsor the party allowing Samantha to pick out formal invitations and select a flowing white ball gown and tiara. A professor - and a former wish dad - at the nearby U.S. Military Academy at West Point arranges for the military academy to take part in Samantha’s wish experience, and for the landmark Hotel Thayer to host and cater the gala. A hairstylist, make-up artist and manicurist also donate their services for Samantha to look like the beautiful princess she is during her birthday debut.
On her birthday, Samantha rides in a limousine to West Point.
Fans of “My Super Sweet 16” know the most anticipated moment of the birthday is the girl’s grand entrance and Samantha’s gala is no exception.
In a regal ballroom at West Point, party guests exchange eager glances. Outside, six uniformed West Point cadets stand alongside a red carpet with their sabers at ready. Four more comprise a military brass band.
The limo pulls in front of the ballroom and – to Samantha’s surprise and delight – a West Point officer announces her arrival. The brass band welcomes her with a trumpet fanfare, and other officers create the famous saber arch for her to pass under.
She enters the elegant doors to a crowd of cheering friends and family. Pastel pink and white balloons line the walls and flowers adorn the tables. A deejay starts the music and Samantha and her friends sing and dance the night away – taking every opportunity to pose for photographers.