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6th Annual Pujols Family Foundation Autumn Prom
November 2, 2012
By: Amy Leigh Simpson
Have you ever had a truly magical moment?
Like most little girls, I grew up enraptured by fairy tales. The princess arrives at the ball, locks eyes with that oh-so-handsome prince and drifts away on the perfect moment dreams are made of. I remember thinking that one day I might get to be that princess—step into the glass slipper, twirl around in my dress and feel like the most special and cherished belle of the ball.
Probably the closest any of us will come to an actual ball will be the prom. But let me tell you, my high school prom didn’t open up a magical door to my Happily Ever After. Sometimes the prince really is a toad, the wicked step-sisters trample poor Cinderella, and you pray for the clock to race forward to midnight so that you can finally feel like yourself again.
But what if you really could be yourself…be just who you are and be celebrated, cherished, and truly be the belle of the ball. Is there such a fairy tale?
I have had the honor of participating in the Pujols Family Foundation “Autumn Prom” event for the past four years. But this is no ordinary prom. Each one of the men and women with Down syndrome are the honored guests who have no need for a magic wand or a Fairy Godmother, because they are completely genuine, unimaginably kind and an amazing testimony of joy just as they are.
The amazing people of the PFF literally roll out the red carpet for these special men and women and give them a chance to have a moment untouched by criticism or social pressures. They give them their moment to shine—not merely dressed up behind the guise of a prince or a princess, but showing the world they are just as special and royal as they appear. This year 500 guests were treated to a fantastic array of dining choices, professional pictures, a balloon entertainer, and the incredibly talented SmashBand who set the mood for a night of dancing and laughter that might make you feel like you could, in fact, drift off on the dream of such a moment.
And though every year is special, this year was especially touching for the Pujols family as it was Bella Pujols’ first year walking the red carpet and joining the fun. Bella was escorted by her brother, AJ, and following close behind was Albert, escorting younger daughter Sophia to the Prom as well.
Some other highlights this year were the dance demonstrations performed by a few attendees involved in Albert’s Rising Stars program. Brian Williams danced a foxtrot with teacher Hillary. Heidi Bubenik and Warren Cobb spiced it up with the salsa, and longtime couple Nick McMullen and Paige Hall performed to “My Heart Will Go On.”
It is always a night to remember. Many families travel for hours for the event, knowing that there is nothing quite like it. And there isn’t. It is a celebration not only of what unites them, but also of what makes each one of them unique and special and beautiful (Sorry guys—and handsome!).
Don’t forget to sign up next year or show your support for the Pujols Family Foundation. Because while life may not be a fairy tale, there are beautifully rare moments like these when it sure feels like it.