Friday, June 05, 2009

Stefani on "The Early Show"

Watch the video here

I wrote about Stefani Pentiuk in a Leelanau Childrens Choir inspired post a few years ago. That post ended "Life is too much to believe," and not much has changed. Stefani and her parents were on The Early Show this morning with her heart doctor, the man who reassured her before the heart transplant that she would not only survive, but he would "take you to your prom." Dr. Ackerman then showed up, ten years later at the Leelanau County Prom to surprise Stefani and fulfill his promise.

I was thinking of that scene while reading recent commentaries about proms and the expensive gowns, limos, hairdos, hotel rooms, etc that some communities indulge their kids in. Our prom is a three-school affair that takes place in the showroom at the casino where I work. The event is organized by a student committee advised by Sutton Bay business teacher Stan Pasch. You don't need a date, or a new dress for prom; you can shop second hand or rework an old dress. (I used to like to go visit prom on my breaks. Of course my own kids hated seeing me, but the neighbor kids were always glad to hug me.) Flying in your heart doctor is the most extravagance I've ever seen associated with the Leelanau County Prom, but it made perfect sense.

I've told Stefani's story a lot lately. There's not much to do when you turn eighteen in this town, so lots of kids come out to play at the three dollar blackjack tables once they're old enough. During the transplant and recovery years Stefsni seemed to have lost a few years of growth and a lot of people ask "is she old enough to be in here?" I like telling her story, as it perfectly illustrates my oft-repeated line "Casino luck is the most overrated kind of luck."

Stefani graduates next week and sings in the choir concert the week after. We are all charged with taking whatever luck we have and using it to serve others. She will start at Hope college in the fall, studying to become a nurse.

I was apprehensive about The Early Show gig, but they did a wonderfully understated job of telling the story. I'm looking forward to hearing Stefani's account of her trip to New York.

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