It was AJ Spader's first dance with a date — the winter formal at O'Gorman High School. When it came time to ask a lucky lady, he had only one in mind — his 10-year-old sister Rebekah. While it was an uncommon choice, AJ's sister sadly has a terminal illness, and he wanted to make sure she got the chance to experience a high school dance in her life, no matter what.
Rebekah Spader hasn't had it easy. When she was only 6, she was diagnosed with a type of bone marrow cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome, which can be terminal. A bone marrow transplant didn't work. Rather than continue to put Rebekah through difficult treatments, the young girl's parents made the difficult decision to stop treatments and let her live out her life in peace.
Like the rest of his family, AJ knew his sister probably wasn't going to experience many of life's firsts, but there was one he could give her. He invited her to the winter formal, held on Valentine's Day, and she was thrilled.
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!
On the special occasion, Rebekah got dressed up just like a princess. Her older brother made her outfit complete by giving her a beautiful corsage. After that, it was time for pictures, and then a dinner with AJ's classmates. Rebekah even got to have her picture taken with the older kids, who all welcomed her with open arms.
According to KSFY ABC, Rebekah didn't feel up to the dance, so she and AJ ended up going home after the dinner. However, she still had a great time, and most of all, she and her brother had a bonding experience neither will ever forget. AJ could have easily just made the evening about himself, but instead, he chose to share it to give his sister a special experience.