SIOUX FALLS, SD (KSFY/CNN) – A high school teen shared an important night with his sister because he did not want her illness to take away the milestone.
A.J. Spader’s sister, Rebekah, was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) several years ago. The disease is marked by an inability to produce enough healthy blood cells.
After a bone marrow transplant failed, the family decided to forgo any further treatment. They say 10-year-old Rebekah may not live to see high school.
“What girl doesn’t like to get all dressed up and beautiful?” said her mom, Stephanie Spader.
Rebekah was transformed into a princess for the Valentine’s Winter Formal at O’Gorman High School. Her brother came up with the plan to make sure she got to experience the important rite of passage.
“I wanted to ask my sister because she’s most likely not going to be able to experience high school,” A.J. Spader said. “So I just thought, why not ask her to formal?”
He made sure his sister got the whole formal experience, bringing her to dinner with his classmates and their dates.
While the day was all about his sister, it’s clear the evening was not just for Rebekah.
“Her laugh is pretty great, it’s really fun to just be around her and just make memories,” A.J. said. “I want to spend as much time with her as possible while she’s still doing good.”