Leukemia Can’t Keep Eastern Iowa Girl From Prom

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

Maquoketa High School junior Brittany Bettag, 17, and her date UI freshman Jonathan Sneddon are introduced at a hospital prom Friday, May 6, 2011 at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Bettag, who has AML Lukimia and has been in the hospital since mid-March, is unable to attend her prom on Saturday night so hospital staff brought the prom to her. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A Maquoketa High School junior diagnosed with Leukemia in March celebrated her prom at UIHC Friday afternoon.

17-year-old Brittany Bettag has temporarily lost her hair to the disease, but has not lost her spirit. Bettag attended the prom event held in a small gymnasium near the pediatric unit wearing a purple dress all while smiling ear-to-ear.

“I’ve never had anyone do something this extravagant for me,” Bettag said. “It’s been such an amazing experience.”

Bettag was accompanied to the prom by her boyfriend, Johnathan Sneddon, a freshman at the University of Iowa. Sneddon said he was overwhelmed by the efforts put forth by hospital staff and student volunteers at UI’s Dance Marathon who put on the event.

“This is a big event in a girls life to go to prom, and to know and recognize that those type of needs are just as important as the health needs is just fabulous,” said Laura Bettag, Brittany’s mother.

The gymnasium was packed with mock prom goers and other patients who came down from the pediatric unit. Hospital CEO Ken Kates also attended the event. Kates drove the couple down the halls of the hospital to the prom in a decorated hospital go-cart.

“It was awesome,” Brittany Bettag said.

Laura Bettag said her daughters prognosis is very positive, and they hope to move her back home sometime in July.

“We have the highest hopes and true faith that this is all going to work out just fine,” she said. “This incident in her life will just be a detour.”

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