On May 3, Ashley Yates should have been surrounded by friends, dancing at her prom.
The senior at Boswell High School had already chosen the perfect gown, with a black sweetheart neckline and full white tulle skirt.
But a relapse of mononucleosis, coupled with a recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia and vestibular migraines, changed her plans. Yates, 18, stayed home, avoiding social media because she felt sad seeing photos of her friends in their dresses and tuxedos.
“There were some tears during the day,” said her mother, Michelle Rhin. “And red velvet ice cream at night.”
On Sunday evening, classmates at Boswell, with help from the Kidd Kraddick in the Morning show, threw a surprise prom for Yates, complete with a DJ, dance floor and dinner. As her parents helped Yates through the ballroom doors at the downtown Omni hotel, the crowd shouted, “Surprise. This is your prom.”
Looking stunned, Yates could say only, “Oh, my God.”
A straight-A student and member of Student Council, Yates missed four months of school this year because of illness. Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic and widespread pain, fatigue and joint stiffness. She gets weak and sometimes needs a wheelchair. Severe exhaustion has forced her to complete school from home.
Friends at Boswell wanted to cheer her up with a small prom at one of their homes, so Amanda Case, a senior at Boswell High, called Kid Kraddick in the Morning to ask for help.
“Ashley is such a kind, sweet person. She has the biggest heart,” Case said. “She would do the same thing for any of us.”
The radio show jumped in, arranging for the Omni Fort Worth to host the prom, securing a DJ and even flying in Yates’ boyfriend, Jeshua Barnes, who recently moved to Casper, Wyo.
“We didn’t want her missing her prom,” said the show’s Kellie Rasberry. “This is what every girl deserves.”
Barnes said the illness has been difficult on Yates, who plans to attend Colorado State University in the fall and wants to become a physician’s assistant.
“She loves school and everything about school,” he said. “Missing school has been hard. Missing prom was terrible.”
Sunday, Yates’ family lured her downtown to take photos of her in her prom dress, then whisked her to the Omni ballroom, decorated in black and gold, Boswell’s colors. A booth in the corner invited students to take silly photos. A handmade sign read “We miss you.”
Yates and her boyfriend were crowned prom king and queen before they danced briefly to their song, Carolina, by Parmalee.
“This is the biggest surprise I’ve ever had in my life,” Yates said. “I am blown away.”
Yates is scheduled to go on Kidd Kraddick in the Morning on 106.1 KISS FM today to talk about the prom and thank those who made it happen.