Stage 4 cancer patient sent to prom, all expenses paid

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Friday night was a night to remember for a 17-year-old Bloom High School student. (WLS)

Friday night was a night to remember for a 17-year-old Bloom High School student.

At this time last year, Torri Stewart didn't think she would be alive. But on Friday, she went to her high school prom - all expenses paid, with her best friend by her side.

Stewart said she started getting ear pains and headaches last May, so she went to the doctor.

"I did a scan and they found a tumor behind my nose area. They diagnosed me with nasopharyngeal cancer," Stewart said.

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Friday night will be a night to remember for a 17-year-old Bloom High School student.

It was a rare form of stage four cancer.

Stewart was like any high school junior at the time. She was looking forward to her final year and going off to college, but the diagnosis changed everything.

Stewart said her first thoughts were, "Why me? Why do I have to die? It was really hard for a long time."

The Bloom student endured six rounds of chemotherapy and two months of radiation therapy. She ended up missing most of her senior year.

There were plenty of dark days, but she said she found solace through her church. Then things started to change.

"I got past the negativity, and it was nothing but positivity after that to help me get through it," Stewart said.

The positivity only continued. Enter Early Walker and Sean Howard.

"When me and Sean were sitting in his living room, (Stewart) said to us, 'Last year, this time, I didn't know if I would be alive.' I mean, that touched us, to hear a 17-year-old say, 'Hey, why do I have to die?'" Walker said.

Walker is the owner of W&W Towing. He said he believes those who serve and make money off the community should give back. Sean Howard, a government spokesperson and friend of Walker, agreed.

"(Walker) called me and said, 'Hey you won't believe what just fell in our lap.' He brought the young lady and her mom to my home and there was not a dry eye," Howard said.

Then the two agreed to send Stewart to prom, at no cost to her or her family.

The pair set up and paid for her hair and nail appointments. They bought Stewart a prom dress and her dinner. They even were able to coordinate a police escort to accompany her from her home.

Stewart was shocked.

"They said, 'Don't worry about nothing. We got everything.' We started going through a list of stuff and I was like, 'Do I need to get this? Do I need to get this?'" she said.

Stewart said she couldn't come up with the words after they told her, "'No, we got it. Don't worry about it. Come. Just show up.'"

She did.

At her Matteson home on Friday, Stewart smiled in her long, burgundy prom dress. Her hair was perfectly coiffed and her face was all made up as a crowd of about 100 people waited to send her off.

It was a far cry from where she thought she would be this time last year.

What's the next step for this high school senior?

"I am going to college. Well, after prom, I'm graduating. Then I am going to college. I haven't decided what college yet, but I am going into the medical field," Stewart said.

She is done with her cancer treatment, but isn't cancer free yet. Stewart said the treatment helped her feel better.

Despite missing months of school, she will graduate from Bloom with honors. Stewart said that's due, in part, to maintaining a positive attitude and to people like Walker and Howard, who have help uplift her throughout this difficult journey.

"I was glad they came in my life. They brought more positivity. That's all I need," she said.
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