Recently, A Prom To Remember (APTR) lost a beloved member of its family. Valentina Londono, 17, who you might remember as the petite beauty who was our 2012 poster child, died on Nov. 27, 2013.
Those who were fortunate enough to meet Valentina were immediately drawn by her wit and charm. And though soft spoken, she had a mighty voice that evoked change.
There was no one more passionate about childhood cancer awareness and advocacy than Valentina. She was always willing to push past any innate shyness and act as a spokesperson for cancer causes. She gave media interviews, made speeches, helped fundraise and more, all in an effort to raise awareness about the plight of children battling cancer.
Through all the ups and downs of her treatment, Valentina never lost hope. She maintained top grades at school, while studying remotely, and she had just completed a political science course at Brown University, also remotely. A tremendous writer, her 2012 feature article in Broward Health Magazine highlighting APTR was recognized by Ragan’s PR Daily. She became an avid photographer and artist. In her limited free time, she often wrote poems. And she dreamed…of the future and all it held. She often spoke of becoming a journalist or politician or someone who could change the world. Little did she know, she already had.
Just by knowing her, many were called to action. And in her memory, many more will continue the fight against cancer. And while we grieve the loss of our dear friend Valentina, we realize there are many more boys and girls who are continuing their fight with this horrible disease. Knowing this, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide a once in a lifetime experience for teens with cancer, providing one night where these wonderful kids can throw off the cancer label and just be regular teenagers enjoying their prom.
We do this not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s what Valentina would have wanted. For in her words: “While the last year has been hard, A Prom To Remember gave me something to look forward to and hope for. When it was all over and I was driving home, I was thinking to myself, ‘Wow, that was incredible!’ I was actually able to forget for one night everything I have been through. I felt so happy and normal surrounded by so many survivors, warriors and just people who care so much. It was an experience I will never forget.”