BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Prom night is a rite of passage.
The dress, the flowers...that is what Wilson Area High School Senior Gianna Gomes, always pictured.
It's her date that's a “little” different.
"She's wonderful," Gianna says, her eyes getting a little misty.
Gianna sits with a little girl in her lap who puts her head on her shoulder.
"The Princess is sleepy," she says softly.
The sleepy little princess is 4-year-old Layla Mae Knighton.
Her grandmother and Gianna's mother are best friends and since day one, little Layla has been Gianna's princess.
"My sister, basically, if you ask her, I'm her sister…I just love her with all of my heart," Gianna says of Layla.
Last April, Gianna was babysitting, when she noticed something was "off" with Layla. She says she saw her have trouble balancing and not quite acting "like her sassy self."
Layla's mother took her to the doctor where eventually, she was diagnosed with a very rare, inoperable brain tumor, that's wrapped around her brain stem. Layla was given six to nine months to live.
But that was a year ago.
"She never, ever gives up," Gianna says.
She's fought so long, she's made it to prom season and that gave Gianna an idea.
She asked Layla Mae to be her date to her senior prom.
"I know there's a chance she's not going to be able to see any events like this - high school events. I wanted to give her something other than love. I wanted to give her something that she's never going to forget, no one in her life is ever going to forget," Gianna tells 69 News.
So, on a Friday night, two families got together to do the traditional prom things.
They put a crown on Layla's head, with Gianna cooing, "Princess Layla!" to her.
They took pictures and exchanged flowers.
They made sure that two girls who dream of going to prom, will get there.
"She'll never wear a prom dress, she'll never have any of that....and Gianna's giving her all that today," says Layla's Grandmother Rebecca Dewalt.
Her voice breaks.
"It's every mother's dream to watch their child grow up and the borrowed time that my granddaughter does have, my daughter gets to see this today.
They aren't your traditional prom couple. They're better.
Two sisters, enjoying a rite of passage that Layla has a right to have.
A night fit for a princess...and on Friday night, a prom queen.
Gianna's mother has set up a GoFundMe page to help Layla's family as they travel for treatments. If you would like to donate, click here.
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