A young girl had to often miss school due to illness. Then, after spending two weeks in hospital, she had to endure taunts and bullying from her classmates because of her condition. But things took a turn for the better after her plight was made known, thanks to an incredible act from total strangers.
Shannon Purcifer, 16, suffers from bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and arthritis, and often has to spend weeks in hospital. She had a dream dress for the upcoming prom, which cost over 600 pounds (under US$800) and was intended to make her feel and look like a princess.
But on the night of the prom, even though she tried on the dress, and her boyfriend was waiting to take her there, Shannon just couldn’t bring herself to go, as the bullying from her classmates had reached such a peak she was unable to bear it.
Her mom, Claire Carstens, was heartbroken and took a photo of Shannon in the dress, and posted it on Facebook.
“She should have gone to prom tonight and worn this beautiful dress but because of bullies she chose not to go.
“The night she was supposed to go to her prom she just did nothing. She tried the dress on but it was heartbreaking for her to choose not to go.
“She had been looking forward to it for months and we bought the dress as far back as February but the bullying got so bad she knew she wouldn’t enjoy it if she went.
“She agonised over it for a while but we knew maybe two months beforehand that her heart wasn’t in it. She’d had enough.
“With all the things she’s been going through with her health and trying to study for GCSEs, the bullying has just taken its toll,” Claire told The Sun.
Many people online who saw the photo, and learned of Shannon’s trouble, began to rally around. Offers came in from the local community to give her an “alternative prom”; people wanted to make her feel special.
Her hair and makeup were taken care of by strangers, a hall organized, guests invited, and a group of 120 bikers from the Gosport Scooter Club turned up on alternate prom night as an escort, with a three-wheeler especially for Shannon.
She wore a corsage, which had a picture of her late dad, Daniel Purcifer, a Royal Navy Petty Officer who died in Germany aged 28, 10 years ago. He would surely have been proud to see his beautiful daughter on her special night.
And Shannon’s reaction? “Better than I could ever have imagined,” she said. “The best part was when the bikes arrived. I knew they were coming but I had no idea I was going to be riding there on a three-wheeled bike.”
Claire was so grateful for the care others took to mend her daughter’s broken heart: “It was just so nice to see so many wonderful people, people we’ve never met before. People wanted to make her happy,” she said. “It was surreal.”
“There was lots of dancing and I generally just had an amazing time. There were people there I’d never even met who had gone out of their way to help me. It was really emotional,” said Shannon.
“The bikers were just amazing. We’re really grateful for everyone’s help. Shannon was very emotional but she looked amazing,” said Claire.
We couldn’t agree more!