By Hiroko Sato
NASHUA — Kelsey McCormick has her eyes set on a local consignment store.
A hot-pink dress with a deep V-neckline that the 33-year-old pharmaceutical consultant from Groton found there helped her shine under the spotlights on the dance floor at Nashua Radisson Castle Hotel last April. This year, she wants to look for something even tackier to twirl in.
Her friend, Katie Long, is sticking to her “go-to dress” in the meantime. The pink, floral-pattern dress covered with golden-thread embroidery makes the Nashua mother of three boys stand out wherever she may be.
“It’s pretty hideous, but I love it,” Long said of her eBay find.
The bold and balky gowns remind them of the high-school proms that the busy 30-somethings can now only reminisce about. The idea to travel back in time and dance away one more night free of worries caught the attention of women of all ages from across the region when McCormick, Long and their four other friends organized the first “Mom Prom” in Nashua last spring. And their desire to relive the teenage fun has also brought them together for a common cause: Helping breast-cancer patients.
“It’s a disease that seems to touch everyone’s life somehow,” McCormick said.
Last year’s party drew 97 women and raised $4,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Now Mom Prom, the “ultimate girls night out,” is back by popular demand. It will be returning to the Nashua Radisson Castle Hotel on Saturday, April 28. From 7 to 11 p.m., some 230 women will be hitting the dance floor.
Organizers are hoping to raise $8,000 from the event, which is already sold out. Proceeds from the $50 tickets as well as from silent auctions will directly benefit the Breast Care Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua toward the purchase of diagnostic equipment.
The hotel is donating the ballroom for the event for a second year while many businesses and organizations have contributed items to the silent auctions, according to McCormick.
Carefree fun is the party’s motto. The ladies-only event also doesn’t require them to bring a date. Just show up in a fun dress and you’ll be ready to stand next to the life-size cardboard cutout of Patrick Swayze to pose for a picture.
Mom Prom first started in Canton, Mich., in 2006 when Long’s 42-year-old sister, Betsy Crapps, who lives there, organized it to raise money for a local church. Word about the event — in which women in their old prom gowns and bridesmaid dresses competed in a “tackiest dress contest” and danced away to karaoke music — quickly spread, prompting thousands of women across the country to hold similar parties for charitable causes.
Crapps soon found herself being interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America and The Gayle King Show on Oprah Winfrey’s cable network. After seeing the success of the events, Long and her friends decided to organize one locally, calling themselves the “prom committee.”
Nationwide, there are about 60 mom proms that have been recently held or will be happening this spring, McCormick said. The local prom committee plans on turning the Nashua event into an annual tradition.
“We are hoping it will get better and bigger each year,” McCormick said.
While tickets to this year’s event is sold out, the Mom Prom Committee is encouraging people to make donations to St. Joseph Hospital Breast Care Center. Checks can be mailed to: Lindsay Kaled, c/o St. Joseph Hospital, 172 Kinsley St., Nashua, NH 03060.
For more information about Mom Prom, visit http://www.mompromnashua.org/.