Night to Shine: A glimpse of heaven

People with special needs can receive love like any other person in this world. Three years ago, armed with a heart to share this truth and a wonderful partnership with the Tim Tebow Foundation, we came up with a one-of-a-kind event for our special needs friends. In 2016, our Night to Shine prom was born.

Meetings over coffee, powerpoint presentations, email threads … way back in 2016, we began to brainstorm ideas for a prom that would cater to kids with special needs. Now, we’ve wrapped up our fourth Night to Shine prom, made possible through church partnerships and friends from local organizations who came together to not only raise awareness but to pour out love for young people with special needs.

Many of these young people are our own CUREkids. On this special night, we get to reunite with children who have been given hope through life-changing surgeries at the Tebow CURE Hospital. Kids like Daniel, Ann Rose, Mary Jean, Ryan, and Kimberly got dressed up, walked down the red carpet, played games, and enjoyed dancing the night away with their buddies. It was such a sight to behold! There could be no better celebration of healing than to be crowned as kings and queens of the prom, affirming them as children of our heavenly King.

Kimberly walks down the red carpet as she embraces her beautiful identity in Christ.
We officially crowned our kings and queens as we affirmed their place in the kingdom of heaven!
A triumphant queen!

One particular “king” who touched my heart was Aldrin. When Aldrin first came to the hospital, he walked with backward knees. In pain and in need of healing, Aldrin was brought to Tebow CURE by our partner organization, Seeds of Dignity Ministries. The treatment he received allowed him to stand tall, a statement to those who looked down on him because of his deformity.

Aldrin, standing with child mentor Ella and his buddy, Duke.
Claire, Aldrin, and Duke.

One barely noticed the braces on his legs as Aldrin walked down the red carpet in a handsome dress shirt and a bow-tie. “Dancing was my favorite part of the night,” Aldrin told us. Aldrin’s mom, Claire, said, “We are so, so joyful that we got to take part in this celebration.” The evening, designed to be a celebration of God’s love, made an impact on patients like Aldrin and his family.

Aldrin and his friends made for a large crowd. Our CUREkids shared the dance floor with their encouraging buddies—many of them from our partner churches. Duke, Aldrin’s buddy, said that his favorite part of the experience was “sharing God’s love and making him (Aldrin) feel very special.”

Aldrin playing a game with his buddy, Duke!

I kept thinking, “Who are we that you are mindful of us, God?” Every week, we serve and hope that God continues to speak to these kids in their healing after they go back to their homes. Through Night to Shine, we are privileged to see how God continues to work in the lives of these children. How blessed we are to be a part of their healing journeys!

Children’s mentor Ella and Storyteller Hope greeted Ann Rose after she walked down the red carpet.

These past four Night to Shine celebrations in Davao City have accomplished so much more than just raise awareness; it isn’t every day that people from different cultures and abilities come together to celebrate love. Many of our young guests have said that this day was the best day of their lives. For me, it is a glimpse of heaven on earth.


Photo of the Hope Kim Pranza

About the Author:

Hope Kim serves as a Storyteller at CURE Philippines, which means she gets to play with kids, chat with their parents, and put their stories into pictures and words for the world to see. She was first involved with CURE U, CURE’s University program, at the University of Florida, as a student advocate of CURE’s healing stories. Her passion for CURE’s mission brought her back to her motherland, meeting her husband and lifetime editor-in-chief, Josiah. Through the stories she captures, she hopes to see and serve people as Jesus did and inspire others to do so as well.

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