KANKAKEE — “I don’t want to be little anymore. I want to be a big person!”
Scott Killy, father of 14-year-old Phoebe Killy, quoted his daughter from when she was little, onstage on the evening of her quinceañera at The Majestic Theatre.
Throughout the past few months, Phoebe has done a lot of growing up. She was forced to accept the reality of her diagnosis of stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme on April 3 of this year (previously reported by the Daily Journal). She underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor and radiation treatment.
During this challenging time, she stayed true to herself, her faith and took advantage of each day as best she could with her family and friends right by her side. What better way to celebrate Phoebe maturing into a young woman and rededicating herself to the Lord than by having a quinceañera?
The traditional quinceañera originally began to introduce a young woman into courtship, with roots back to the historical region of Mesoamerica. Although Phoebe isn’t allowed to date until she’s 16, she wanted to have a quinceañera because it recognizes her heritage and where she comes from.
Through the help of the community, Phoebe’s quinceañera came to be. Phoebe first met volunteer wish granters Gina Cordes and Lisa Holt with Make-A-Wish Chicago to discuss her wish to travel to Europe with her family.
Cordes and Holt, both Limestone residents, felt something right away when they met Phoebe.
“We met Phoebe two months ago, and we just fell in love with her spirit,” said Holt onstage, right before she and Cordes surprised Phoebe, telling her that her wish for Europe had been granted.
Phoebe will be traveling to Nice and Normandy in France later this summer with her family.
Before the wish was granted, the quinceañera already was in the works. The Make-A-Wish Foundation was not involved with putting it together. Local connections from Cordes and Holt made the quinceañera a reality.
A venue, food, decorations and — last but not least — a dress were needed for her for this grand occasion.
The owners of The Majestic in Kankakee agreed to hold the event, Pa-Chan-Ga in Kankakee volunteered to cater the food, Heather’s Custom Cakes in Bradley donated a two-tier cake and Bliss Bridal in Bourbonnais donated Phoebe’s dress.
Just when The Majestic space grew hot and the air conditioning had a hiccup, Reed’s Rent-All in Kankakee pulled through with a few industrial fans for the room.
“I was absolutely thrilled and grateful to be a part of this event for Phoebe,” said Heather Dmitrasz, of Heather’s Custom Cakes. “To help put a huge smile on this beautiful girl’s face is completely heartwarming.”
“It was an absolute honor to have been considered and selected to participate in making this young lady’s dream come true,” said Terrance Hooper, co-owner of the Majestic. “Opportunities to be part of such important and impactful events like this far outweigh any business accomplishment. These are the moments that remind us why we do what we do”
The quinceañera began with a prayer and continued with a presentation of personal gifts for Phoebe, a song of dedication (“Take My Life and Let It Be”), the presentation and crowning of Phoebe, and the presentation of the last doll.
Phoebe presented her cherished American Girl doll to Lydia Love, a member of the court of honor. The doll was dressed just like Phoebe thanks to an identical mini-dress made by Bliss Bridal.
Before Phoebe’s quinceañera concluded with dancing and merriment by all, a court dance from Phoebe, her friends and siblings took place. Phoebe was openly emotional toward the end of the dance.
“You guys have touched my heart in a way that I’ll never forget.”