Sisterhood of traveling prom dress honors deceased friend

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Teens wear same prom dress in memory of friend who died

It's the sisterhood of the traveling prom dress for the friends of Catherine Malatesta, a 16-year-old girl who passed away from cancer this past August.

But friends of the Arlington, Massachusetts teenager are determined to continue Catherine's legacy. For the high schoolers, that means wearing the same prom dress Catherine sported at her junior prom last May.

Catherine was a vivacious teenager, participating widely in both school and sports. An avid athlete, she rowed crew, played field hockey, and took part in theater and chorus. A dedicated student, Catherine also received accolades for her attendance and studied for her Advanced Placement exams from her hospital bed.

She even won student council president after she recorded a speech while getting treatment. Catherine was elected after her speech aired over the school's loud speaker, her voice echoing through the halls of Arlington High.

Despite being diagnosed with Stage 4 epithelioid sarcoma, a cancer which had already spread to her spine and lungs, Catherine still evoked the same bubbly personality she had before she was diagnosed.

"She just carried a positive vibe with her everywhere she went," explained friend Carly Blau to The Boston Globe. Blau, along with three other friends, decided to honor Catherine by wearing her navy blue dress to their respective proms. Along with Blau's Beverly Hills prom, Catherine's dress was in attendance at one in Rhode Island and two at her old high school.

The high schoolers' determination to continue Catherine's legacy began recently. "Her prom dress was still hanging on her closet door, and her friends started trying it on. They said, 'We should all wear Catherine's dress,'" her mother explained to the Globe.

It is a true testament to how special her daughter was. "For these girls, it means more to them to have their friend with them than it does to have the latest dress." Catherine's mother added in an interview with Today that "It symbolizes their strong friendships, and the sisterhood — Catherine was part of the sisterhood. They loved her dearly."

For them, it's a way to memorialize the teen. Her mother explained to the Globe, "By wearing her dress, it's a way to connect with her, and have some closure and shine as bright as she did at prom." A mere four days after the dance, Catherine was hospitalized again. She stayed there until early August, when she passed away.

Catherine's mother is touched by her daughter's friends. "She will be with them at their prom," she said to the Globe. Hopefully this tradition will continue for a long, long time.

See photos of the special prom thrown for a young blind woman below:

20 PHOTOS
Blind Massachusetts girl gets special prom
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Sisterhood of traveling prom dress honors deceased friend
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, dances with her friend Maddy Wilson (R) at the Chelsea High School Prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her mother Jennifer (L) pick out a prom dress for Precious at Tammi's Closet in Amesbury, Massachusetts, United States April 17, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, spends time in her bedroom with her cousin Janelly Matos (R) before Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez (R), 18, who has been blind since birth, walks to a hair salon with her mother Jennifer in preparation for her prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 19, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, sits for a pedicure in preparation for her prom at a nail salon in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 19, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, her cousin Janelly Matos (C) and their friend Trista Ward (L) buy candy and snacks at a convenience store before Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez (C), 18, who has been blind since birth, gets her hair done by Yubelquis Beato (2nd R), while her brother J.J. (L) plays a video game and her mother Jennifer (R) looks on, in preparation for Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 19, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, her cousin Janelly Matos (C) and their friend Trista Ward (L) walk home after buying candy and snacks at a convenience store before Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, has her hair done by her aunt Norma Gonzalez (R) as Precious gets dressed for prom at her home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S. May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, gets a kiss from her mother Jennifer at her home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States before going to prom May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, gets her dress and hair adjusted by her aunt Norma Gonzalez (L) and her mother Jennifer (R) as she prepares for her prom at her home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, models the prom dress for her mother Jennifer (L) at Tammi's Closet in Amesbury, Massachusetts, United States April 17, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, talks to her father Jonathan (L) as she prepares for prom at her home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her friend Maddy Wilson (L) walk to a car on their way to Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her friend Maddy Wilson (R) arrive for the Chelsea High School prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her friend Maddy Wilson (R) make ice cream sundaes at the Chelsea High School prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her friend Maddy Wilson (R) eat ice cream sundaes at the Chelsea High School prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, who has been blind since birth, dances with her friend Maddy Wilson (R) at the Chelsea High School Prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, sits at a table at the Chelsea High School Prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
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