COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A local woman couldn't attend the Air Force Academy ball Friday because of treatment for leukemia. So a group of cadets brought the ball to her.
Amber Moore, 18, is a graduate of Widefield High School. She was diagnosed with leukemia last fall and receives treatment for the disease. Joseph Abakunda, an Academy cadet from Rwanda, offered to take Moore to the ball. She accepted.
"I have a girlfriend back home, and I talked with her about it," said Abakunda. "We thought it was a good idea."
But Moore, who's received most of her treatment on an outpatient basis, had to be readmitted to Memorial Hospital. She said she'd be unable to attend.
What Moore didn't know, however, is that Abakunda and hospital officials were planning a surprise ball-type gathering near her room. The hospital provided food and decorations. Abakunda brought flowers and three fellow cadets for support.
"It's a dream come true," Moore said of the occasion. "I was disappointed about not going. Now, I feel like Cinderella. It pretty much turned my day around."
"We'd never met him before," Moore's parents said of Abakunda. "He asked us for his blessing. He seems like a nice young man."
A Widefield store, Once and Again Bridals, rented a formal gown to Moore for free.
"At first, the bill was $72," she said. "Then, they told me I didn't have to pay. They had three dresses, and this is the last one I tried on. They said it was perfect for me."
The cadets barely had enough time to visit with Moore before they had to return to the academy for the 3 p.m. ball.
Moore said her cancer is in remission, and she hopes to be cured after two more years of treatment.