"I just wanted to be like Cinderella for a night," says Natasha Starkey, who has a rare skin disease called Epidermolysis bullosa

By Nicole Sands
Updated June 18, 2015 06:00 PM
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Credit: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Cinderella once said that a dream is a wish your heart makes, and for a Columbus, Ohio, high school senior battling a rare skin disease, her dream to attend her prom came true right before her eyes.

Natasha “Tasha” Starkey has Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) – a group of incurable rare diseases that are usually inherited and cause the skin to blister in response to a minor injury, adhesive tape, friction from rubbing or scratching and heat. Kids who have the condition are also known as "butterfly children" because their skin is as fragile as butterfly wings.

But the 19-year-old was able to successfully wean herself off her pain drip for several hours to become a princess for the night – thanks to a team of doctors, nurses and staff at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, according to Fox News.

“I just wanted to be like Cinderella for a night,” Tasha, who has undergone more than 40 surgeries, said in a mini documentary released by the hospital.

When the teen told her mother that she wanted to be like any “normal” teenager and dance the night away at her senior prom, she was eager to make her daughter’s wish a reality.

“I know Tasha has been wanting to go to prom even last year when she was a junior and at home, and she wasn t nearly this sick,” Michelle Starkey said in the video.

Instead of administering the pain drip that she typically receives every Wednesday and Thursday, Tasha’s hospital entourage helped her paint her nails, curl her hair, pick out the perfect outfit and even showed her some of their best dance moves.

And the night proved to be just as magical as she’d imagined.

“I don t always feel pretty, and I don t always get to dress up, so that was really fun to go and get dressed up,” Tasha said. “I got to meet some new friends who danced with me in my wheelchair on the dance floor.”

Hospital caregivers couldn t pass up the chance to try and help Tasha experience the once in a lifetime opportunity.

“We set the groundwork for testing to see if she could make a trip away from the hospital without her pain pump. Each day of testing, it went well and that along was an accomplishment,” Dr. Kenneth Goldschneider, Director of Pain Management at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, says in the video, recalling how special prom night was for his own daughter. “We were going to try for it.”

“Children have to be able to dream,” he continued. “To know she was out on the dance floor, socializing, getting the total experience and loving it, feeling confidence, it just made us all here so excited.”