A 16-year-old girl from Gosport, Hampshire, who skipped her school prom because she was badly bullied, has been thrown a special party by her friends.
Shannon Purcifer missed the school’s annual soirée because classmates teased her for having a serious bowel condition.
After suffering from a string of health problems throughout her teenage years, including coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, which she was diagnosed with earlier this year, the teen was finally able to wear the £470 dress she had bought especially for her prom.
She faced years of bullying as classmates, who made light of Purcifer’s illnesses, would call her names and taunt her in text messages and across social media, causing the teen to change her phone number.
Last month, mother Claire Carstens uploaded a photo of her daughter in the dress she intended to wear to prom in an emotional Facebook post, explaining why she had decided not to go.
The touching post captured the hearts of many and the next day, Kerri Louise Kimber, a close family friend, decided to organise a special prom for Shannon, giving her the opportunity to wear her dress.
The post acquired over 100 comments with people offering their support and providing donations via a page, where 36 people raised £500 for food provisions – surpassing their original target by £350.
“Can’t believe how well Shannon’s prom is all coming together,” Carstens wrote in a Facebook post.
“So many people offering their services for free and we’ve so far raised £415!! All from one status and a lovely lady !!
“This isn’t all about bad mouthing the school but the school certainly needs to sort out bullying as soon as they are aware of it. This is about showing all those nasty bullies that they won’t win and also showing anyone that is being bullied, there is a light at the end of the tunnel”, the 38-year-old explained.
The party, which took place on Saturday, was attended by over 100 close friends and family members, including Purcifer’s stepfather Kevin Carstens, a 37-year-old engineer, and her two brothers and four-year-old sister. Purcifer’s father Daniel, a Royal Navy Petty Officer, passed away in 2007 in Germany.
Held at St Vincent College in her hometown, the event was decked out with a disco, decorations and a buffet.
The brave teen was escorted to the venue by 120 bikers from Gosport Scooter Club.
Carstens, who, according to her Facebook page works as a dairy team member at Tesco, has been sharing the press that her daughter’s party has received on social media, with one friend commenting “let’s hope the school see something of this” to which Carstens replied “I hope so, it’s time for change!”