I rely on miracles to get me through this life. Only half-joking do I say, “It’s a miracle I didn’t forget one of my kids today!” or “What a miracle we got to school on time today!”
But once in awhile, the truly extraordinary coincidence happens that makes me catch my breath and say, quite simply, “Wow.”
Nikki Pendekanti, 42, of Chino Hills, was organizing a prom for cancer patients and survivors at City of Hope in Duarte. It is a labor of love for the longtime volunteer and mother of three: her son Rapesh was a patient at City of Hope until his death from leukemia at age 7.
The prom Friday at the hospital featured makeovers, a boutique, a photo booth, music and of course, a delicious dinner. Pendekanti asked local companies for help, and many stepped up: Subway in Upland, Baskin-Robbins in City Of Industry, Christine Bisquera Photography in Corona, Mystique Party Rentals in Duarte, DJ Figgy, S.E. Artist Studio and Sweet Fuss.
Members of the Diamond Bar High School softball team decorated the auditorium and students from Evergreen Elementary in Diamond Bar recycled plastic and aluminum to raise money to help, too.
Everything was pretty much set the night before the big dance, when Pendekanti received a call from the company that was donating all the pasta, salad and breadsticks for the event. They had to back out one day before the party.
“I was going to figure out alternatives the next morning but got busy at City of Hope setting up (for the prom),” Pendekanti said.
I had told my nephew Gerard, who works at Charlie’s Trio in Alhambra, about the prom and the work Pendekanti and her foundation, A Friend in Me, were doing to help young cancer patients at City of Hope.
“That text and Charlie’s Trio came through and saved the day,” Pendekanti said.
Of course, this proud aunt would like to take all the credit for connecting a generous restaurant and awesome nephew with someone needing help. But really, it was my nephew who reached out at the most opportune moment with a simple question, “Can I help?”
It’s nice to believe that some random things that happen in life aren’t so very coincidental at all. It’s nice to think Pendekanti’s son Rapesh, gone some 10 years now, was stepping in to help his mom make good things happen for other children. I like to believe that. I really believe that.
Anissa V. Rivera Columnist “Mom’s the Word” Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whittier Daily News Azusa Herald, Glendora Press and West Covina Highlander San Dimas/La Verne Highlander Southern California News Group 605 E. Huntington Drive, Suite 100, Monrovia CA 91016 (626) 301-1461