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:
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