Community comes together to throw surprise party for 12 year old with brain tumor

Hannah Swayze • Updated Mar 11, 2018 at 12:47 PM

Alidiah Simpson knew she was going to a dance Saturday.

But when the 12-year-old arrived, she was given a red-carpet entrance to a surprise party just for her.

More than 60 of Alidiah's classmates and friends came out to celebrate her birthday — only a few days early — at North Ridge Community Church, cheering her on and yelling "surprise!" as she walked down the red carpet for the Hollywood-themed dance.

This past summer, Alidiah was diagnosed with a type of brain tumor called a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. According to St. Jude's Website, the tumor begins in the brain stem just above the neck and effects the part of the brain that helps with breathing, heart rate, seeing, hearing, walking, talking and eating. Unfortunately, the survival rate is very low.

Because she'd said she wanted to go to the eighth-grade prom, local community members teamed up to make it happen. In just a couple of weeks, they organized a seventh-grade prom and birthday party just for Alidiah.

The Hollywood theme went beyond the red carpet with a D.J., professional photography and lots of dancing.

Alidiah was diagnosed in in early June; doctors told her parents she would live for 46 months. They are coming up on month nine. 

Her mother, Danielle Simpson, said that the turnout was amazing and that everyone who planned it did a wonderful thing for Alidiah.

"As long as she's happy, that's all I care about," said Danielle.

Organizers say that approximately $5,000 work of products and services were donated to make Alidiah's birthday special.

Alidiah said seeing everyone made her happy, and that she was looking forward to her actual birthday — on Wednesday — too. 

Local companies pitching in to make the special day happen were: Main Street Cafe and Catering; Matt Curley. owner of the Texas Road House on Roan Street; Celebrate Rentals; Foster Signs; Sam's Club; D.J. The Great Jamal Potter; Steve Grindstaff; and Dawn Lambert Photography.


Editors note: Main Street Cafe and Catering, one of the sponsors, was misidentified in an earlier version of this article.

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