ELIZABETH, NJ – Like most high school seniors, Sergio Pereira was looking forward to attending what he hoped would be of one of his most memorable events, the prom.  Instead, on June 3, he found himself in St. Barnabas Medical Center battling a rare, life-threatening lung condition.

“I was very disappointed,” said Pereira. “I didn’t care that I was sick. I just wanted to go.”

He didn’t lose his life, but he did lose the money for his prom ticket, and, more important, he lost the opportunity for that wonderful, magical experience.  Or did  he?

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Coming to see him in the hospital that day of the prom were Angel Santos and Vladimir Carrasco, his two best friends since the seventh grade. While his mother, Carmelinde, told him that she would make it up to him by giving him a big party, Santos thought he had a better idea, a “mini-prom.”  

Explained Carrasco, “Having been unable to attend his prom, a group of friends came together to organize a ‘mini-prom’ for him. We plan to rent a limo to take him out to the city for dinner and imitate as closely as we can the experience everyone had of prom.”

The group quickly got busy raising money and established a site at gofundme.com/sergiosprom.

“I think this is beautiful that, throughout all their years in school, they could feel such compassion for this young man,” remarked board of education member Maria Carvalho. “It is heartwarming that they are doing this for him.”