It’s the kind of story movies are made about. Saturday night, a sheriff escort delivered a 10-year-old girl to a night she’ll never forget.
Ty Radley, a senior at Ozark High School, meets Kaylee Murphy at the door with a corsage, kneels down and asks, “Kaylee, will you go to prom with me?”
Kaylee thought she was getting dressed up to enjoy a “Girls Night” but instead, Ty escorted her into the Franklin County Community Fair Building for a prom, thrown just for her.
He walked her down a red carpet and into the fully decorated room where a group of high school kids—all dressed in their prom attire—were waiting for her. Ty said to the crowd, “She said yes!” Cheers followed.
The friendship between Ty and Kaylee began last the summer. Ty, a lifeguard at the local pool, came to the young girl’s rescue.
“Kaylee came in one day and she was just swimming, having a good time," said Ty. "These boys started picking on her, and it upset me, so I told the boys to leave and they weren’t welcome back.
When prom season came up, Ty wanted to do something special for Kaylee who suffers from Goldenhar Syndrome, a rare disorder which causes deformities. He wanted to make his best friend’s dream of going to prom come true—just in case she doesn’t make it to her own.
“They told me kids with her condition; she wouldn’t have a long life span," said Kaylee's mom, Rachel Graves. "One of her surgeries she had her tonsils and adenoids removed, and she died three times during that surgery so every surgery is like a life or death issue."
Ty asked Rachel if he could take her daughter to his senior prom, but she and Kaylee are leaving for St. Louis for three months where Kaylee will undergo four major surgeries. She has already endured 12 major surgeries in her young life.
The senior wasn’t about to give up. Ty called on the community to help him throw Kaylee her very own prom—from décor, to food, to prom pictures, even a crown to make Kaylee “Prom Queen.”
“When Ty told me he wanted to take her to prom, it just broke me because I knew that was her biggest dream and if something happens, God forbid, in these surgeries and He chooses to take my baby, I know that this was probably the best night she’s ever had, “ says Graves.
Graves is grateful to everyone in the community who chipped in to make the night special for her daughter.
Ty says people have called him a hero for spearheading the prom planning efforts, but to him, Kaylee is his hero.
“I love that Kaylee never complains," he says. "She wakes up with a headache every day. You can tell she’s always in pain, but you never see Kaylee without a smile on her face.”
A donation fund to help the family with medical expenses has been established at Simmons First National Bank at 100 W. Commercial in Ozark, 479-667-2111.
To learn more about Kaylee’s syndrome click on this link: http://www.faces-cranio.org/Disord/Golden.htm