Shannon Purcifer, a 16 year old girl, missed her school’s prom because she was unable to face her bullies. The student, who lives in Gosport, England, had been taunted by bullies for years for suffering from ulcerative colitis, a form of bowel disease. Shannon’s story came to the public eye after her mother, Claire Carstens, posted a photo of her daughter wearing her gorgeous prom dress on Facebook.
The post’s caption read, “If Shannon had gone to prom tonight she would of worn this beautiful dress. Thanks to nasty vile bullies Shannon decided she didn’t want to go and mix with bullies that made her so miserable. For a girl that has had so much to deal with in life….coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, she is one strong young lady with an even stronger mind!! Love you girl.”
The post went viral, and quickly family, acquaintances and strangers began to raise funds for the young woman. The purpose was to have a prom only for Shannon, with all her school friends.
They managed to do the prom for the girl at St. Vincent College, and it was a real success! The event began with 120 bikers showing up to her door wanting to show their support by accompanying her to the ball.
Shannon was finally able to wear her prom dress, accessorizing it with a tiara and a corsage that carried a picture of her late father, who died in 2007, serving in the Royal Navy in Germany. More than 100 friends and family members also attended the celebration, equipped with a buffet and a dance floor.
“It was better than I could ever have imagined,” Shannon said. “It was far better than if I had gone to my own school prom. There was lots of dancing, and I generally just had an amazing time. There were people there I’d never even met who had gone out of their way to help me. It was really emotional.”
Shannon’s mother said, “There was no better way to stick two fingers up at bullies than to go out and enjoy yourself…The night Shannon was supposed to go to her prom, she just did nothing. She tried the dress on, but it was heartbreaking for her to choose not to go. She had been looking forward to it for months and we bought the dress as far back as February, but the bullying got so bad, she knew she wouldn’t enjoy it if she went.”