Friday Night (17) at Packard Children’s: End-of-School Prom takes ‘A Journey Into Outer Space’

* Kids receive individual QR codes to track casino points* Costumes will be “out of this world,” according to fashion critics* Can a hospital cafeteria be morphed into a new planetary system?* Follow the prom on Twitter ,

Friday Night (17) at Packard Children’s: End-of-School Prom takes ‘A Journey Into Outer Space’

<0> Lucile Packard Children’s HospitalRobert Dicks, 650-387-7500 </0>

R2D2 will be there. We have the RSVP.

The famous “Star Wars” droid will be making the scene as one of 200 cosmic partiers at the 9th annual end-of-school prom at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital this Friday night (17). Organized by patients and hospital schoolteachers from the Palo Alto Unified School District, this year’s theme is ‘A Journey Into Outer Space,’ and it’s definitely an intergalactic event.

“Prom is a remarkable evening for these kids, and it just gets bigger every year,” said hospital schoolteacher Kathy Ho, chief organizer and party advisor. “It’s fantastic fun, a place where kids can forget their disease and just have a great time. Our philosophy is that you’re not really in the hospital on this night.”

You’re not really in the cafeteria, either. That’s because Ho and her team are launching it into a brand-new galaxy, one that includes an Ice Planet, Garden Planet, Rock Planet and Techno Planet. “We’re putting a creative twist on everything by making up our own planetary system,” added Ho, who’s letting scientific accuracy take the night off. Together with DreamWorks, Tiny Prints, Home Depot and many other donors, Ho and her team are finalizing a world that’s turning hospital elevators into space shuttles. “Everyone loves the wonder of space,” said Ho, “and it really inspires kids.”

Anyone attending the hospital school over the past year is invited, including brothers and sisters who relocated to Palo Alto while their sibling received care. Selix Formalwear is donating tuxes for the boys and community supporters arecontributing evening wear for the girls. But Ho said many of the kids are designing secret, space-themed costumes. “There will be plenty of surprises,” said Ho, who is crafting her own celestial outfit, one that she would only describe as “shiny.” (Wear sunglasses.)

The music, dancing, photos, casino, carnival, food and raffles will all be space-themed, with one space-age twist. “When the kids check in, each will receive their own individual QR code to track points accumulated at game booths, and this will drive prizes,” said schoolteacher Kevin Danie, another holdout from letting us know if he’ll be in some sort of alien suit.

It’s a can’t-miss event and the biggest, starriest night of the year, one that doesn’t limit itself to high schoolers. “It’s not just for older kids who may miss their prom,” Ho explained. “We also invite the younger kids. For the more seriously ill, this may be their only chance for a prom.”

Regardless of theme, the kids, the donors, the volunteers and teachers are all very excited. “Through the enthusiasm, creativity and generosity of so many, we’re helping kids make prom dreams a reality,” Danie said. “These are memories that will last a lifetime, and we can’t wait to get this party started.”

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford is an internationally recognized 311-bed hospital, research center and leading regional medical network providing a full complement of services for the health of children and expectant mothers. In partnership with the Stanford University School of Medicine, our world-class doctors and nurses deliver innovative, family-centered care in every pediatric and obstetric specialty. Packard Children’s is annually ranked as one of the nation’s finest by and the only Northern California children’s hospital with specialty programs ranked in the Top 10. Learn more about the Packard Children’s Health Alliance at ; explore our hospital expansion at ; and find our full range of preeminent programs at . Like us on , watch us on and follow us on .