The Rigaud woman who created “A Promise for Prom” to help make dreams come true for underprivileged graduates is now forced to close up shop due to a debilitating illness.
Her devastation quickly turned to elation after several schools stepped forward and promised to continue carrying the torch.
“It was really hard, I won’t lie I cried a lot,” A Promise for Prom founder Lou-Anne Hood said. “I’m not sad anymore, it’s hard to be sad with so many schools that are on board.”
The 46-year-old has collected more than 1,500 gowns and suits for the charity she started from scratch in the basement of her home. She’s helped dress several dozen high school graduates and calls it one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.
“Girls come in feeling like ‘I don’t deserve to have that beautiful day’ and then they walk out then they hug me and they’re in tears and it gets me every time and I wish people could see that cause that’s why I do it,” Hood said.
After dealing with severe rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, she’s made the decision to sell her home and shut down the charity.
“We need to downsize I can’t do the stairs anymore my illness has progressed and I’m having a hard time walking,” Hood said.
But she won’t stop making prom dreams true thanks to ten schools who have agreed to take on the wonderful work she started close to three years ago.
“We are so grateful for Lou-Ann Hood, when she gave me a call she had seen a segment that we had done on Global last year and she mentioned that she had lots of dresses and suits to donate for our school,” Lasalle Community Comprehensive High School (LCCHS) Vice-Principal Josie D’Adamo said. “We are over the moon and excited and forever grateful!”
Students at are already making room for the thousands of dresses, suits and shoes coming their way.
LCCHS already had a dress-rental program for girls called Sparkle and they’ve just launched one for boys called Sharp.
“I hope a lot of boys can have a lot of self-confidence when they know that they’re going to look sharp for school dances and prom,” grade-seven student Sofia Timotheatos said.
Going to prom can be pricey and the hope is that as donations keep pouring in, more students will be able to attend the end-of-year celebration.
“A lot of people sometimes can’t afford these tuxedos and we just want to give them a little motivation to make them just want to go to a big event,” student Sabbia Eljarrat said.
And just the thought of her hard work living on, is adding incredible comfort during one of the toughest times in Hood’s life.
“It’s really hard to be sad now I’m so excited,” Hood said. “I was so devastated the first day and now knowing that it’s getting so much bigger and I can still be a part of it in the background I’m just so happy!”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misspelled Lou-Anne Hood’s first name. Global News regrets the error.