Alcoa teen with cancer gets celebrity prom surprise

Celebrity stylist Tokyo Stylez surprised Maryville teen Hannah Tate with a custom-made wig for her senior prom. Tate is battling a rare form of cancer.

One Alcoa teenager celebrated her senior prom in style Saturday night, following a special surprise that left her in tears.

It's a rite of spring every year at Alcoa's Springbrook Park: dozens of Alcoa High School prom-goers gather in their finest formalwear for photos, before a night to remember.

This year's prom, however, was one senior Hannah Tate feared she would miss.

"I was diagnosed with Wilms' tumor. It's a child cancer, usually found in kids under the age of five, and I'm 18, so it was rare," Tate said Saturday afternoon.

Diagnosed the day before her 18th birthday, this student athlete's busy senior year turned into long stays at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

That means Tate is "away from all her friends and basketball," her mother LaVetta Spann explained. "She dances, too, so she didn't get to dance this year."

Spann said she and her daughter stay at the Ronald McDonald house in Memphis, where most of the patients are kids much younger than Tate.

"She gets bored sometimes, and so she turns to the Instagram and the Facebook," Spann said.

Tate has been documenting her journey on Instagram, where she came to follow celebrity stylist Tokyo Stylez.

"She loves him. I can't emphasize enough on that," Spann said with a laugh. "She loves him, and she would just look at him and say, 'Mom, isn't he beautiful? I love him!' And I'm like, 'Okay, honey, yeah, yeah.'"

Tate's story touched Tokyo.

When Tate, who has lost her hair due to chemotherapy, asked Tokyo via Instagram to send her a wig for the senior prom, he granted her request - and then some.

On Saturday afternoon, when Tate was expecting a package to arrive containing the wig, Tokyo showed up with it.

"I just really want her to stay strong and keep her head up and let her know that we're with her, fighting with her and we're going to beat this battle with her," Tokyo said.

He and makeup artist Loe Calavera transformed the teen into a prom princess.

At Springbrook, Tate's friends did a double-take.

"I didn't even recognize that that was her. She looks amazing," Tate's friend Abby Turbyfill said. "I think she really is the center of this prom today. Everybody loves Hannah and is definitely here to support her today, and they were glad to see that she was up and was able to come today."

As this annual American teenage ritual put Tate on the path to young adulthood, Tate is also walking the promenade to recovery.

Since her diagnosis in October, Tate has had several surgeries to remove tumors. Her family says she is making strong progress toward recovery and is set to graduate on time.

Follow Tokyo Stylez on Instagram @TokyoStylez and see examples of his work HERE.


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