RICHLAND -- Karissa Jackson danced the night away Saturday at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland on a floor sprinkled with rose petals.
It might have been one of the smallest proms ever held in the Tri-Cities, but it also must have been one of the happiest.
Her doctor, Kadlec pediatric hospitalist Kevin Marsh, asked her last week if she had any dances coming up. Just the prom -- Saturday night in Dayton.
That was all it took for the Kadlec staff and foundation, with lots of help from Karissa's family, to pull together a prom at the hospital in 48 hours.
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"She is kind of a tomboy, so to see her dressed up is awesome," said her mother, Gina Rider of Dayton.
And it was important to Rider that her younger daughter have a chance to feel special.
Hospital stays are routine for the family. Both of Rider's daughters, Karissa and older sister Kayla, were diagnosed with the lung disease cystic fibrosis.
Kayla's future looked bright last year because of the families of Alexandra Hatley-Flores, 12, and her cousin, Taylor Tefft, 11. When the girls died after a tragic crash on Interstate 182 in Pasco, their families donated their organs, and Kayla received Alex's lungs.
Kayla jumped into a newly active life, chasing her cousins, riding a bike and learning to drive.
But in July 2010, nine months after the transplant, her body rejected her new lungs, and she died at the age of 18.
"Karissa is dealing with it very, very well," said her mother. "But I wanted to do something special for her -- we've been so focused on Kayla."
Karissa, 15, already had the dress. She had bought the teal green dress with tiered ruffles two years ago, but hadn't had the special occasion to wear it yet. Her grandmother drove it down from Dayton.
The theme, picked by Karissa, was Candy Land.
"I love candy," she said. "I'm addicted."
On Saturday night, she and her boyfriend, Tony Schwab, 16, of Pasco, walked into the suite reserved for families in the Kadlec pediatric unit to find an arch of candy canes and bon bons and oversized candies and a disco ball hanging from the ceiling.
"It's so cool," she said.
The evening started with hair and makeup done at the hospital by professionals recruited by the Kadlec Foundation and then dinner, said Jessica Shover, the Kadlec child life specialist, who led the prom planning.
Then shoes came off for dancing with Karissa's girlfriends from the Tri-Cities, a cousin and, sometimes, shy Tony, when the exuberant girls could coax him onto the floor.
Karissa and Tony held hands and sneaked a kiss. The girls sang along to Avril Lavigne's What the Hell. They invented some new dance moves to teach each other, laughing and sucking on pinwheel lollipops.
Her aunt, Carol Crowell of Pasco, snapped pictures.
And Mom got a little teary.
"I'm so grateful they did this for her," she said.