Girls battling illnesses don princess gowns for day of glitz and glamour
More than 100 took part in the Princess for a Day event at the Manitoba Legislature
The Manitoba Legislative Building had a visit from pint-sized royalty on Sunday as more than 100 girls, many of whom are dealing with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, showed up for the annual Princess for a Day event.
Amy Millette and Maurice Amyotte brought their daughter, Paisely, who was diagnosed with brain cancer.
They say for their daughter and the other girls, the event gives them a chance to forget about their illnesses and just have fun.
"It's a day of pampering, no pokes, no hospital visits, no nurses, no treatments, no feeling yucky," said Millette. "Who they see here is fun people. It's not something mandatory that they have to do. It's something that they want to do."
The girls arrived at the event in limousines, were given ball gowns and makeovers, and treated to a magical day full of entertainment.
Stella Mazza has been organizing the event for 12 years. She came up with the idea while undergoing treatment for breast cancer, where she encountered many young girls going through challenging illnesses of their own.
"Coming out of that, coming back strong and healthy, I'm a very project-oriented individual, and it was like a no-brainer," she said. "Right away I knew that I wanted to do some form of event for little girls that were battling these illnesses."
The girls get to keep the gowns, which some wear to their appointments.
"A typical email will be from a mom, for example, thanking me for supplying this for their daughter, as she goes into her chemo room and she's wearing her princess ballgown and she's looking at the doctor and just saying, 'You know what, I'm a princess today. You can do whatever you need to do to me.'"
This year's event featured several Disney princesses. Laura Mitchell, who dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, said the reactions from the girls and their parents are what make the event so special.
"It's so amazing these little girls, you can tell by their parent's reactions that they've had a rough time and just to be the answer that they're kind of looking for and to see them open up and really smile and give you a hug that almost hurts," she said.
The event includes kids involved in Dream Factory, Children's Hospital and Children's Wish Foundation.
With files from Remi Authier