Dressed in white with a green vest, a terminally ill central Minnesota boy danced the night away at prom, something he will likely never get to do as a high schooler.
Curtis Lee Hiltbrunner, 7, was born with short bowel syndrome. He had only about 12 inches of his small intestines compared to the 23 feet he should have. After a triple transplant of liver, intestine and partial pancreas when he was 9 months old, doctors told his parents he wouldn’t live to age 10, according to the Brainerd Dispatch.
Curtis Lee, who loves the color green (which is also the color for organ donation) and super heroes, was the guest of honor at the Crosby Elementary School prom on Saturday, fulfilling one of his lifelong wishes of attending the prom.
“This is awesome. It’s actually very emotional for me. I don’t know if I’ll get to see it again later. So, I mean, it’s very emotional for me,” Curtis Lee’s father, Curtis Hiltbrunner, told WCCO.
Curtis Lee's intestines have completely shut down. He will likely face another transplant, which only has a 30 percent chance of survival, WCCO reports.
“It has been a nightmare. A complete and total nightmare,” Curtis Hiltbrunner told WCCO. “We battle every day. Uh, me and mom can’t work. Every time I get close to getting a job he ends up sick, we sit in a hospital for two, three weeks at a time”
The prom was held as a fundraiser for Curtis Lee. Local businesses donated services, including photography, tuxedoes and limousine. All proceeds from the event went to Curtis Lee's medical needs and travel expenses to the transplant center in Pittsburgh, where the family will need to go again in the next month, according to the Brainerd Dispatch.
Last October, around Curtis Lee's seventh birthday, the elementary school dressed up and raised money for his medical expenses, according to the newspaper. Last December he traveled to Disney World with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.