ATLANTA, Ga. -- You would never look at 17-year-old Abby Gladin and think that doctors have said they don't know how she's made it at times. She's been through a lot of surgeries. At 17 years old, Abby has lived with Crohn's disease for ten years.
On the visit this day to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, her doctor tells her, "Well, you're looking pretty good." For Abby, a normal life is like a dream. She's missed so much school and faces an almost constant threat of hospitalization.
"Prom," Abby says. Just the word makes her happy. It's what she'd rather talk about with her doctor, with anyone. As a member of her schools' prom committee in Louisville, Georgia, Abby doesn't love the theme which is, "a night of sophisticated elegance." But it has given her new ideas for the perfect dress.
Leaving her doctors' appointment, she is shocked when she hears "Surprise!" Her mom and her aunt and her cousins have made the two and a half hour drive from Louisville, to be part of a prom shopping expedition arranged by Children's. A car from Uber takes all of them to Miss Scarlett's dress boutique in Buckhead where she will get to pick the dress of her choice, for free.
Abby is overwhelmed by the selection. She says, "I like lacy stuff." As she searches for the dress, certain ones aren't ideal. She has to find one that will hide her colostomy. "This is so cool, I feel like this shouldn't be happening to me." As she stumbles in a low pair of heels, she says, "I've only ever worn wedges!"
Her mom bursts into tears when Abby emerges from the dressing room, clad in a white satin dress."Some days she doesn't see how really beautiful she is because of this."
And just when it seems it can't get any better, Miss Georgia walks in to surprise Abby, who breaks down crying. "You're so pretty," Abby says to Miss Georgia, who removes her crown and places it on Abby's head.
There is major surgery to come when the school year ends, but today life sparkles.
Standing in front of the mirror Abby's family yells, "Are you saying yes to the dress?"
And the girl who says she has Crohns, but it doesn't have her, replies, "I'm saying yes to this dress!"