We hope that Mandi's courage inspires other kids living with illnesses to find mentors and ask for help so they too can live their dreams.
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New York (PRWEB) April 15, 2008
Mandi Alto of Virginia, MN has overcome a lot of obstacles in her young life: a rare childhood cancer, kidney stones, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and a blood clotting disorder. Adding to the 18-year-old high school senior's troubles: enjoying that one special night all girls dream about: her high school prom.
Mandi's family finances have been depleted due to the cost of her cancer treatments. Then there is the all important dress - today's skimpy prom styles won't flatter the plus size youth. But like Cinderella, Mandi has found her Fairy Godmother here in the metropolitan area. And Fairy Godmothers have helpers.
Thanks to Mandi's penpal and fellow cancer survivor Saranne Rothberg, founder of the ComedyCures Foundation http://www.comedycures.org, Mandi will be flown into Manhattan on Wednesday, April 16 for a whirlwind day in which she will receive a head-to-toe prom makeover any princess would envy.
NWA WorldVacations is donating round-trip airfare to fly Mandi and her stepmother, Chris Alto, from Duluth to LaGuardia as well as accommodations for the Altos during their stay in NY. They will be ushered from the airport and around town by Six Stars Limo of New York as her day unfolds. Fashion designer Kathlin Argiro has designed and will fit Mandi's dress, Macy's Herald Square is donating a generous shopping spree for all Prom accessories, Maybelline of New York is gifting a year's supply of makeup, celebrity makeup artist John Nelson and OC 61's colorist Laurie Daniel and stylist Dayler Chagas form her beauty team.
Ann Shoket, editor-in-chief of Seventeen Magazine, has joined Mandi's welcoming committee. The Alto makeover team also includes Edite stylist Rachel Paletsky and Samantha Prag of Tim Gunns' Guide to Style.
The fashion portion of Mandi's day culminates in Argiro's studio where local teen girls will greet Mandi, Rothberg and Rothberg's daughter, Lauriel. North Jersey plus size supermodel and fellow cancer survivor Emme will share beauty secrets and coach Mandi for her New York fashion photo shoot by Raquel Lauren.
And no first-time trip to the Big Apple would be complete without a Broadway show. A delicious dinner will be catered by Broadway's exquisite Thalia Restaurant before Mandi heads to see Xanadu, whose cast has planned a great night out including VIP Xanadu tickets, a cast meet-and-greet, and show gifts and souvenirs.
Not that she's likely to forget this experience, but Mandi's entire day in New York will be captured on film by Skyview cameraman David Stollak with DMJ digital field producer David Jasse and photographer Kristy Leibowitz documenting Mandi's experiences.
Adding to this magical day: Mandi and Rothberg have never met.
Mandi Alto reached out to fellow cancer survivor Saranne Rothberg, founder of the ComedyCures Foundation, and her daughter, Lauriel, for advice recently as she had done in 2004 when then 14-year-old Mandi saw the pair on television sharing their joy-filled strategies for surviving cancer as a family. Mandi wanted to learn Saranne's tips and with the Altos' permission, Mandi and Saranne have been e-mail pals ever since.
Learning of Mandi's prom dress dilemma, Saranne and Lauriel (age 15) immediately jumped into action and started reaching out for donations to make Mandi's big night dreams come true. As New Yorkers usually do, they came through in a big way.
"The outpouring of support has been tremendous," said Rothberg. "We hope that Mandi's courage inspires other kids living with illnesses to find mentors and ask for help so they too can live their dreams."
Mandi's whirlwind day will of course end before the clock strikes twelve: she'll be whisked back to the airport to return to Duluth with her new designer prom dress, lots of swag, and lifelong memories.
And yes, Mandi has a date for her prom.
roiz.patricia @ gmail.com
SaranneR @ ComedyCures.org