Homecoming can bring out the best in people, including students who are willing do anything to make sure the night is perfect and spent with their closest friends.
This is especially true for Kaitlin O’Connor, a high school senior from Hilliard, Ohio. When she was told her best friend, Blake Mounts, wouldn’t be able to attend homecoming, she found a way for him to still celebrate.
“My family and the Mounts family have been close friends for years, so when I heard the news I went to the hospital to see him,” O’Connor tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s always kind of been an ongoing joke since we were little that Blake and me were gonna date — we’re just really good friends — so I thought it only fit for us to go to our senior homecoming together.”
Imagine O’Connor’s disappointment when she found out her date couldn’t make it due to his debilitating disease and cancer treatment. “The plan was for him to be able to leave the hospital for an hour or two on the night of our homecoming to attend the dance, but after getting news of the severity of the cancer, that was no longer an option,” she revealed. “Blake’s sister, Taylor, and I thought, ‘Well, if he can’t go to homecoming, then homecoming is coming to him.’”
Mounts will be at the hospital for at least the next four months to receive two intense rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. “Since chemotherapy starts to affect a person very quickly, the nurses said the homecoming had to be within the next five days, so Taylor and I got to work,” O’Connor shares.
They invited the senior’s closest friends and family and decorated the teen’s room at the children’s hospital to give it a “homecoming feel.”
“After everyone arrived and we got all the decorations set up, Taylor, his friend Amaya, and I all headed down to his room,” says O’Connor, who documented it all on Twitter.
“His family helped in picking out the outfit he would wear and bought me a corsage and boutonniere, so I carried that down with me along with the sign I made to officially ask him to homecoming,” she says.
The sign read “I’m no Kekoa Crawford, but I’d like to score a date with you to HOCO,” because Blake is a huge Michigan fan (Kekoa Crawford is a player on their football team). “Seconds before going into Blake’s room, he texted me wanting to know whether I was coming, and I told him I wasn’t able to make it, which upset him a little, but I’m pretty sure I made up for that!”
Moments later she walked into the room wearing a white minidress, her hair curled and half up, ready for the big dance, and presented the sign. In the video you can hear him saying from his hospital bed, “All right, yeah, but I gotta get there first.” Little did he know, he didn’t have to go far. “We presented him with the outfit we picked out and told him to get dressed. He smiled and asked, ‘Wait, right now?’ He was so confused, but I could tell he was so happy.”
She continues: “He changed, then we left the room. He still had no idea that all of his closest friends were waiting for him down the hall. He kept asking, ‘Where are we going?’ but his sister, Amaya, and I kept silent.”
O’Connor, who also set up a GoFundMe page for Mounts’s medical bills, said the look on his face when he walked into his homecoming “made all the effort worth it. I would do it 10 times over to see Blake that happy every day.”
She posted photos of herself and Mounts on Twitter, with him in his suit and tie while hooked up to a monitor with a medical mask covering his mouth because his immune system is so weak. But they both looked thrilled in front of a sign that read, “F*** Cancer Homecoming.”
The best part was when his nurses came in and unhooked him from his machine for an hour so that he could just have fun and relax. “It was the first time since he was in the hospital that he wasn’t hooked up to any wires or IVs. I think that’s when the most tears were shed by the guests and myself.”
They’re not the only ones crying. The kind gesture moved outsiders as well — O’Connor’s tweet has received over 17,000 likes and almost 2,000 retweets.
Kaitlin this is so cute! What a kind heart you have
— april (@aprilfools___) September 25, 2017
AWE THIS MADE ME CRY
— Savanna Rose Fricke (@Srosefricke16) September 25, 2017
Lowkey made me almost tear up this is so cute https://t.co/s59JMuEgsX
— William (@WBartholic) September 25, 2017
“I don’t want to make this about me — that wasn’t my intention,” O’Connor says. “I just want Blake to know how loved he is, because he’s such an amazing friend. He deserves the best. I will remember that night and his smile forever.”
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