Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Traveling Prom Dress Sisterhood Honors Friend Lost to Cancer

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Traveling Prom Dress Sisterhood Honors Friend Lost to Cancer

Article excerpt

ARLINGTON, Mass. - "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" now has a real-life version: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Prom Dress. The last time many of Catherine Malatesta's friends saw her, she was wearing a huge smile and the deep blue, shimmery dress at her junior prom. Four days later, battling a rare cancer, she went into the hospital and never left.

Now, four of Catherine's friends are honoring her by wearing that dress to their own proms, a gracious gesture her mother named after "Traveling Pants. And, like the pair of jeans in the books and movies that magically fits four teenage girls of different shapes and sizes, Catherine's dress works for all of them, with only temporary hemming for two of the girls.

"When each girl tried it on, it fit each one of them beautifully despite all having very different body types, said Catherine's mother, Jennifer Goodwin. "It is uncanny.

- The Associated Press

There won't be any scheduling conflicts; the girls go to different schools, and their proms are on different dates. Another friend of Catherine's already has asked to wear the dress to her prom next year, while Catherine's seventh-grade cousin has asked Goodwin to save it for her prom, years down the road.

"It's a way of keeping her with me, said Jillian Danton, 17, who wore the dress to her junior prom at Arlington High School in April. "All of us being able to have this piece of her is healing.

Catherine was a bubbly girl with an easy self-confidence and a silly sense of humor. She loved to act in school plays, taught religious education to first-graders, gladly debated anyone on any topic, and was the life of the party.

"Everyone knew her as the nice girl who made people laugh, said Carly Blau, a friend from summer camp who plans to wear the dress to her senior prom next month at Beverly High.

Catherine played field hockey and was on the Arlington High crew team. In autumn 2014, she told her parents she was having some pain in her shoulder. They thought it was an athletic injury, but after doctors' visits, they got the diagnosis: Catherine, 16, had epithelioid sarcoma, an aggressive cancer.

She started chemotherapy the day after Christmas, then had radiation, then simultaneous courses of both. …

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