Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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After Prom

She Died After Prom. What Her Friends Did With The Dress Moved Me To Tears.

Catherine Malatesta was a beloved daughter and friend, just about to make her way out of high school and into adulthood. Unfortunately, during her last year of school, the unthinkable happened: She was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, and there wasn’t much that could be done.

While we’d love to say that Catherine made it through her illness unscathed, the outcome was much more devastating. What happened as a result of that outcome, though, was incredibly powerful — and further proof that sometimes, the most beautiful stories are born out of tragedy.

This is Catherine Malatesta. A happy, ambitious, and smart 16-year-old, Malatesta would sadly be diagnosed with Stage IV cancer just weeks after this photo was taken.

This is Catherine Malatesta. A happy, ambitious, and smart 16-year-old, Malatesta would sadly be diagnosed with Stage IV cancer just weeks after this photo was taken.

Jennifer Goodwin

Before her diagnosis, she was a strong athlete. She only went to the doctor after feeling a pain in her shoulder, which she thought was a sports injury.

Before her diagnosis, she was a strong athlete. She only went to the doctor after feeling a pain in her shoulder, which she thought was a sports injury.

Jennifer Goodwin

Her family and friends were shocked by the diagnosis, but Catherine maintained a postive attitude throughout her treatment.

Her family and friends were shocked by the diagnosis, but Catherine maintained a postive attitude throughout her treatment.

Jennifer Goodwin

Despite undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, Malatesta never gave up hope.

Despite undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, Malatesta never gave up hope.

Courtesy of Malatesta family

Just days after she was released from the hospital, she attended her prom. She was frail, but her family and friends say that she was all smiles.

Just days after she was released from the hospital, she attended her prom. She was frail, but her family and friends say that she was all smiles.

Jennifer Goodwin

She also looked absolutely beautiful.

She also looked absolutely beautiful.

Jennifer Goodwin

“She turned to me and said, ‘Mom, for the first time in a long time, I actually feel beautiful,'” her mother, Jennifer Goodwin said. “It was such a lovely moment and I was so happy that she felt like that for one day. It was a special, special night for all of us.”

"She turned to me and said, 'Mom, for the first time in a long time, I actually feel beautiful,'" her mother, Jennifer Goodwin said. "It was such a lovely moment and I was so happy that she felt like that for one day. It was a special, special night for all of us."

Jennifer Goodwin

Several days after the prom, she was re-admitted to the hospital. Sadly, two months later, she passed away.

Several days after the prom, she was re-admitted to the hospital. Sadly, two months later, she passed away.

Jennifer Goodwin

Catherine, beloved daughter and best friend, was gone far too young.

Catherine, beloved daughter and best friend, was gone far too young.

Jennifer Goodwin

Devastated, her friends still wanted to find a way to keep her legacy alive.

Devastated, her friends still wanted to find a way to keep her legacy alive.

Jennifer Goodwin

Now, four close friends are honoring her memory by wearing the blue gown to their own proms, a loving tribute that Goodwin calls “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Prom Dress.”

Now, four close friends are honoring her memory by wearing the blue gown to their own proms, a loving tribute that Goodwin calls "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Prom Dress."

Jennifer Goodwin

“It makes me so happy that these girls want to honor her in such a simple, yet incredibly powerful way,” mom Goodwin said.

"It makes me so happy that these girls want to honor her in such a simple, yet incredibly powerful way," mom Goodwin said.

Jennifer Goodwin

“They’re carrying Catherine’s spirit with them,” she added. “She will forever be a part of their hearts and souls but wearing the dress is an outward physical acknowledgment of that love.”

 "They're carrying Catherine's spirit with them," she added. "She will forever be a part of their hearts and souls but wearing the dress is an outward physical acknowledgment of that love."

Emma Schambers

Each of the friends wore the dress Catherine had worn to their own prom.

Each of the friends wore the dress Catherine had worn to their own prom.

Jennifer Goodwin

Best friend Jillian grew up with Catherine. “l definitely felt her with me the whole time and it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world,” she told Today in between tears. “It’s an extra memory of her that I have to hold on to.”