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First prom holds surprises, joy for 16-year-old Oklahoma girl

Hayle Savage, who has spina bifida, attended her first prom Thursday at The Children's Center in Bethany
BY JONATHAN SUTTON Modified: May 9, 2013 at 11:10 pm •  Published: May 10, 2013

— About an hour before prom is set to start, Hayle Savage's mom ties a corsage on her wrist that covers up her hospital bracelet.

She isn't concerned with being a patient right now. Like any 16-year-old getting ready for her first prom, Hayle is worried about her hair, dress and makeup.

Her mother, aunts and grandmother are buzzing around the room with combs and hair spray, applying her lip gloss and adjusting her gown.

She's sitting in front of a sign that says “Hayle's Salon.”

Hayle is the center of attention. There's only one word she can muster to describe getting ready for her first prom.

“Cool,” she says.

Hayle has spina bifida, a birth defect in her spine, and uses a wheelchair to get around.

She's been at The Children's Center in Bethany for three weeks because of an infection in her leg. She'll be there for another six weeks or so.

This recent hospital trip will cause her to miss prom at Centennial High School, where she is a sophomore.

She also is unable to attend the Special Olympics Oklahoma summer games for the first time in eight years.

But she doesn't show any disappointment. Hayle's family says she has been looking forward to the hospital's annual prom for its patients.

About 15 kids will be enjoying an afternoon of music and dancing in a room normally used for physical therapy.

As she moves up the hall toward the dance, her posse of family members follows.

“You look so pretty,” one of the nurses calls out as Hayle goes by.

She has heard a rumor that University of Oklahoma football players are going to stop by, but she doesn't know until she's waiting to enter the dance that offensive lineman Bronson Irwin will be her date.

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It's cool because it's my first prom, and I got chosen as queen. It doesn't get much better.”

Hayle Savage,


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