Community throws prom for 10-year-old boy in hospice

Over 300 people showed up to give the boy a special night.

Turbeville, SC (WLTX) - Pictures freeze the times in our lives we want to remember most. Those memories of good times are often what helps get us through the bad. BJ Wilkes, a 10-year-old-boy born with a heart defect, is now searching for all the good memories he can get.

"We've been very blessed to have the time that we've had with him," said Haley Wilkes, BJ's mother.

After four years of trying and three miscarriages, Haley and Brian Wilkes found out they were pregnant with BJ. Their excitement soon turned to fear, when they learned he would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart syndrome. Essentially, this means that he only has half of a heart, with only two pumping chambers instead of the normal four.

"He has oxygen he has to be on continuously, he has to have his oxygen levels monitored, [and] he has about 12 different medications he takes twice a day," Wilkes said.

BJ has spent all 10 years of his life in and out of hospitals, and now he is in hospice.

"Right now it's all about making him comfortable and happy and making as many memories for him and our family and friends as we can," Wilkes said.

So what better place to capture some memories than prom?

"The goal started off as just being like a little prom for some small children to get together, kind of like a dance," Wilkes said.

Little did the Wilkes family know, 300 people would show up. It was funded completely by donations from BJ's Clarendon County community.

"We don't know the family, we just think it's awesome the school's come together to show their love and care for somebody," said Layna Ward, an attendee.

"It shows there's still good in the world, to give him one of the few things he's wanting," said another attendee.

So as the sun set on East Clarendon High School and BJ, the man of the hour, arrived, there was only one thing to do.

"I'm going to break it down!" BJ exclaimed.

When he got to the dance floor, that is exactly what he did. It became a night of memories for everyone: the decorations, the music, the food, and the love and support the community showed for one boy.

"I really wanted it to be the most real prom experience he could have and that is exactly what he got," Wilkes said.

So when time leaves the prom in the past, it is the memories we carry with us that make sure it is never forgotten.

The prom was only the latest item on BJ's bucket list, along with going on a date with a girl and giving her flowers (which he has already checked off!). To find out more on BJ's bucket list, click here.


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