DAVENPORT, Iowa - "I feel happy and I feel so excited."
Francine Pace has been looking forward to this exact day, for months.
"I was so worried I was like, 'Who's going to do my hair? Who's going to make me beautiful?' I was worried I was going to go with a big afro," she says.
While it may be an average Friday night for her classmates, it's the biggest night of the year for Francine and her friends.
"You guys cannot wait to see me in my dress and I swear, when you see me I am going to blow your mind away," says Francine.
It's the second annual Night to Shine in the Quad Cities, giving teens with special needs a prom of their own.
Two parties were hosted in davenport tonight, one at Trinity Lutheran Church and the other at Rhythm City Casino.
"The regular kids are fun, but they can't relate to what we go through," says Francine.
And while the dance might be in the dead of winter, it comes at the right time for her.
"The last few weeks have had some real hard times with some bullying going on at school," says Smith Pace, Francine's mom.
"It took away a lot of her self-confidence and made her doubt herself and the things that she normally would do. This just gave her an opportunity to get some freedom and smile and have something to look forward to."
And she had a lot of help to make her night special; free hair and makeup at Pure Hair Studio in Davenport and a donated dress and jewelry.
"I want Francine to have the same life that everybody else has and seeing businesses contribute something like that suggests that maybe she could have a pretty nice life without having to worry about discrimination," says Smith.
All to give Francine Price the perfect prom.
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