Lea Hill Hosts Prom for “Seniors”

By Donna Wilson, Wesley Homes Des Moines resident Donna Wilson and Lilly Strand Live music, dancing, friendship and good food were shared by Wesley Homes Lea Hill residents on April 27th at their first senior prom. As if that wasn’t enough to makes this prom special, Wesley Homes Des Moines resident Lilly Strand was crowned prom queen. Lilly was surprised to be selected prom queen and explained how much it meant to her. “I had to quit school at age 15 to take care of younger brothers and sisters,” she said, “so I was never able to attend a prom. I had to wait until age 85 before my first prom. This meant so much to me; I was thrilled.” Lilly wore a lovely pastel green floral dress with a short white jacket and a red corsage given to her by Malvyn Bailey, Wesley Homes Lea Hill resident and Lilly’s dance partner. “I danced several dances and didn’t fall over or even get tired; it was a wonderful time that I will never forget,” Lilly said. Malvyn Bailey and Lilly Strand Malvyn and Lilly have been friends for years and had danced together before moving to Wesley Homes. They met several years ago when Malvyn was taking dancing lessons and asked Lilly to be his practice partner.  “The prom was a very nice evening,” said Malvyn. “It brought back memories when Lilly and I used to dance a lot, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t really pass up. It was quite a while back, but I was homecoming king in high school. Lilly didn’t have those kinds of experiences. She was tickled to be prom queen, and I was tickled, too.” The fact that Lilly was able to dance at the prom is a remarkable story in itself as she has had Parkinson’s disease for several years and walks with the aid of a walker. To stay strong, she usually walks 12 miles a week and participates in the Des Moines campus’ summer walking program, called Walk the Iditarod this year. Residents and staff join teams and keep track of the miles they’ve walked to see which team can log as many miles as Alaska’s Iditarod race. Lilly Strand's siblings Lilly has survived several serious physical conditions that have tested her spirit and courage, but she maintains so has everyone else. She’s also had some fun and unusual experiences that include working as an extra on the television series Northern Exposure in the early 1990s. She has a beautiful certificate to commemorate those fun times. Walking and the physical therapy she receives through Assisted Living at Wesley Homes Des Moines have made a positive difference in her health and mental perspective. “Now I definitely have more good days than bad thanks to the wonderful people at Wesley Homes. I love living here,” she said. The prom was the idea of Katy Carson, a senior at Auburn Riverside High School. Katy sent a letter to Wesley Homes Lea Hill Activity Director Lori Britton, and the planning began. To view Katy’s clever fundraising video, click here. Please do not send money. The prom was in April 2013. Dance at your next prom! Wesley Homes Home Health can assist you with your short-term or chronic healthcare needs so you stay independent. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us: 206.870.1127.