A Fredericton high school student went to her prom on Tuesday night, despite the threat that one waft of perfume could have serious consequences.
Taylor Bidlake had her shoes, dress and purse picked out and ready for her prom. But the Leo Hayes High School graduate also had to set aside a bag of magnesium power, EpiPen and an air purifier for the big night.
Bidlake has been diagnosed by doctors with vocal cord dysfunction and is seriously allergic to scents, such as perfumes and body spray.
'I'm hoping that especially tonight that they do put announcements on because girls and guys like to wear to stinky stuff, apparently, to impress others people but I think it just stinks. — Taylor Bidlake, Leo Hayes High School graduate
She said she was determined to go to her high school prom despite a difficult year.
"Last year, I had two concussions because I passed out in the hallway and hit my head on the floor," she said.
Even though her school of 1,700 students has a scent-free policy, more than once, the smell of perfume has crippled her. In December, seizures sent her to hospital.
As she prepared for her prom, Bidlake said she wished the school had done more to enforce its scent-free policy. But she credited the school for allowing her to enter into a co-op program, so she could finish her year working in a scent-free environment.
The teen said she was hoping her fellow graduates were mindful of her serious allergy at the prom.
"I'm hoping that especially tonight that they do put announcements on because girls and guys like to wear stinky stuff, apparently, to impress others people but I think it just stinks," she said.
"I don't like it."
As the prom preparations moved forward ahead, Bidlake's mom and stepfather were filled with a mixture of elation and concern for their daughter.
Miles Pinsent said he would like to see scent-free policies at schools enforced as strongly as peanut and other food allergies.
"When a student's health is being put at risk and their education is being affected, then they need to be able to follow through and make sure that policy is being enforced," Pinsent said.
"I'm not going to pretend that's an easy thing to do, but they do have that responsibility."
Determined to attend prom
Although her final year in high school has presented many challenges, Bidlake said she was determined to attend her prom.
She also picked a date, who could empathize with her struggle.
Bidlake attended the prom with Bryson Dunham, who has had his own battle with cerebral palsy.
Krista Dunham said her son also had serious health challenges this year.
"He got very ill in the spring and we almost lost him in January. And he's here, he is here. I'm very proud of him," Dunham said.
Lori Bidlake-Pinsent said she also hopes the two teens have a memorable evening.
"I just hope she and her date, Bryson, have a fantastic night, that people respect the policies and that everyone has a good time," she said.