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Rachael Ray Surprises Pediatric Patients at Camp

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kidsandKyan.jpgAs a group of patients and siblings from the Children's Cancer Hospital arrived at MD Anderson's Camp A.O.K. in August, they had no idea of the surprise in store for them. Traditionally, the camp ends with a special prom night, but this year the Rachael Ray Show dropped in and surprised the teens with a "prom makeover."

Late Wednesday night as the campers settled into their cabins, a crew from the Rachael Ray Show, MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital and Deerfoot Youth Camp gathered to put their plan into action. Kicking into gear at midnight, they transformed the recreation hall into a boutique full of new dresses, tuxes, shoes and accessories donated by JC Penney.

The next morning, it was business as usual as the campers made their way to the dining hall for breakfast. After breakfast the surprise was unveiled via a video message from Rachael Ray herself. Ray sent one of her celebrity friends, Kyan Douglas, to start the makeovers.

Douglas assisted the campers as they chose their dress or tux as well as their accessories. The bonus was that these items were theirs to take home after camp. Seamstresses were on hand to make any alterations, and hair and makeup stylists from the Upper Hand Salon arrived in the afternoon to begin their work. The biggest surprise of the day came when the old school buses that normally transport the kids to prom pulled out and three stretch limos drove down the path to pick up the decked-out teens.

DancingKids.jpgAs they arrived at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center, the campers were ushered into the banquet hall that had been decorated by the highly acclaimed Darryl & Co. The DJ kept the music going all night and Terry Foss captured the evening camera as the patients, siblings and staff hit the dance floor and made memories they would never forget.

"After a week of making friends and having fun, the teens always look forward to prom night at the end of camp," says Linda Blankenship, program manager for the Children's Cancer Hospital and camp director. "I think the extra surprises from Rachael Ray made this year's prom even more special."

Following camp, pediatric patient Emily Garcia was flown up to be on the show with Rachael Ray. The segment will air on Monday, Sept. 27 on Houston's KTBU, Ch. 55, at 6 p.m.

Camp A.O.K. is funded by the Children's Art Project and staffed by volunteers and MD Anderson employees. More than 50 campers between the ages of 13 to 18 attend the week-long camp at Deerfoot Youth Camp in Magnolia, Texas.
 
 

2 Comments

rip Ghannam *he's the one wearing glassed* , guys can anyone send me some pictures of the prom party ?

I am sorry to hear of your loss. I enjoyed getting to know Ghannam at Camp A.O.K. We'd be happy to send you photos of him from camp. Please send us an email at externalcomm@mdanderson.org with your name and contact information, and I will get in touch with you to send you photos.

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