Chanoa Vandyke from Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Life is a Dream and Heaven is a reality

For over 45 years, PruittHealth continues to deliver on its commitment to each and every patient’s inherent needs. It is a legacy that we have all come to know. It fosters and cultivates personalized quality healthcare, for each and every patient while supporting heartfelt and enduring relationships. Our unmatched dedication was made evident on Saturday, March 19, 2016, in a collaborative effort to fulfill a long awaited prom wish of our patient, Chanoa Vandyke. The event entitled, “Life is a Dream and Heaven is a Reality Prom,” sought to harness and capture the true spirit of Pruitt Health where we truly value and seek to meet the holistic needs of our patients.  

After many years of living in her imagination, a dream finally came true for Chanoa Vandyke! As long as she could remember, she fantasized of a princess who meets her prince and they dance passionately with one another. Just like her dreams, Chanoa always imagined being a princess at her prom wearing a beautiful dress and dancing with her very own prince! Unfortunately, because of Chanoa’s multiple sclerosis, she is confined to living in a wheelchair.She thought that her dream would never come true.

The C2C teams at PruittHealth Durham and PruittHealth Hospice Rocky Mount soon discovered Chanoa’s dream and selected to transform her lifelong dream into a reality.  Immediately, they launched into action, formed a coalition with her family, volunteers and vendors within the community.  They learned that purple is Chanoa’s favorite color, and contemporary gospel is her favorite music and tried to creatively weave every aspect of Chanoa’s identity into the prom.  

On Saturday, March 19, 2016 her wish crossed over from the realms of fantasy into an extraordinary reality! Chanoa’s prom day had finally arrived. She went to the cosmetologist at 10am to have her hair braided with a diamond band placed around it.  Kendall, the Activity Director helped her with makeup. Pennies for Change, a nonprofit thrift boutique, provided her with a full-length, purple evening gown made of luxurious velvet, satin and silk, and complimented it with elegant jewelry.Finally,Walmart of Brier Creek donated a pair of fitted black and gold slippers.

The day room at PruittHealth Durham was transformed into a chic ball room, decorated with balloons of purple, green and gold. Sparkling purple lights lit the room as hospice volunteers and university students escorted all of the patients into their wheelchairs to the prom!  Female patients were dressed beautifully in exquisite tea and full length gowns donated by Pennies for Change Thrift Boutique. Their dresses were matched with ornamental jewelry donated by Pruitt Health Pharmacy. Smiles adorned their faces. The male patients entered as charming gentlemen. They wore stunning tuxedos with silk bow ties complimented by silk vests in purple, gold and green donated by Bernard’s Formal Wear. Chanoa and Julio were all so eager to celebrate with their friends!

Special Guests included: Chanoa’s son, Randall Vandyke; Durham’s Mayor Pro Tem, Cora Cole-McFadden; Miss. North Carolina, Miss. Garner (both from the Miss America Pageant); Corporate Chaplain, Wanda Burton-Crutchfield; and Director of Admissions, Frederick Allen.

After the first dances, the DJ announced that the time had arrived for Chanoa and her prince, Julio Viruez-Cespedes to take the dance floor. They danced to the tune of Life is a Dream, Heaven’s a Reality by the gospel group, Anointed. Julio held Chanoa’s hand gently while gazing into her eyes. It brought tears to her eyes, and made her feel as important, as everyone present, already knew she was. The crowd was mesmerized by the couple as they shared the dance floor together.  There wasn’t a dry eye during the dance. Chanoa was so excited, she called Randall, her son to join them.  Miss North Carolina, while weeping tears of joy, placed a tiara on Chanoa’s head. Next, Frederick Allen placed a bouquet of flowers in her arms. For Chanoa, it was a scene that could last a lifetime.

Finally, Julio assisted Chanoa with eating cake while friends, patients, volunteers and staff happily swayed in unison to the fast rhythm of gospel and soul music – Several patients exclaimed, “This was amazing! We had such a wonderful time!”

 Our mission and our enduring commitment to the patients at PruittHealth is to continually make a lasting difference in their lives through small acts of love and kindness. It is through our giving and caring that Chanoa’s lifelong wish came true. The prom was a perfect reflection of the daily devotion that each and every staff member plays across the PruittHealth team spectrum. We help those in their final days name their hopes, their dreams, and their fears. We learned that sometimes, with a little work, collaboration, creativity, and a whole lot of compassion, we can fashion dreams into a reality.  


  • Location
  • Rocky Mount, North Carolina