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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

The Sooners are her favorite team, and as Irwin steps beside her wheelchair to escort her down the red carpet, the grin across her face is bigger than it's been all day.

During their first dance, Hayle's cheeks turn bright pink as she holds hands with the athlete who is twice her size.

A few dances later, linemen Gabe Ikard and John-Phillip Hughes join Hayle and Irwin and show her how to do “The Twist.”

Irwin said he has volunteered at the hospital before and was happy to help Hayle have a memorable experience.

“Everyone deserves to get a prom,” he said.

After a few dances, it's time to announce the king and queen of the prom, and for the first time since before the dance, the smile falls from Hayle's face.

She's nervous, and it shows. But then her name is called, and she goes forward to get her crown and sash. Once again, she is the center of attention.

Her mother, Kelly, gives her daughter a kiss. She says Hayle's stay in the hospital might just be a blessing in disguise.

“If she had gone to the prom at her school it wouldn't have been as special,” Kelly says with tears welling up in her eyes. “To see her that happy is amazing.”

Hayle says she couldn't have expected much more.

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

As Irwin joins Hayle for the next dance, they hold hands once again and begin moving to a slow song.

Her corsage has moved a little, and the hospital bracelet is peeking out. But no one is paying attention to that. She's not a patient; she's the prom queen.

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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