A dress purchased by Actress Charlize Theron, makeup by Kimmora Lee Simmons' makeup artist and a limo ride to New York City may sound like a movie star's pre-premiere routine, but it became a reality for senior and aspiring singer Bianca Muniz's prom.
"I've never had my hair or makeup done professionally so it was definitely a lot of fun and a great experience!" Muniz said of the day.
And while many girls hope for a fairytale prom night, Muniz earned hers years after receiving some frightening news.
"I was diagnosed with cancer in sixth grade—ovarian cancer," she revealed. "I started chemotherapy at the beginning of seventh and I missed all of seventh and I had to be tutored because I really didn't want to be left behind."
Muniz received treatment at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where she said, "Everyone was really nice and helpful."
While she dropped from advanced courses to "normal classes" while going through treatment, "I've been in remission since ninth grade," she shared.
Muniz maintained a brave attitude throughout her diagnosis and treatment and attributes her impressive recovery partially to her involvement in the high school musical.
"I got the lead in the high school musical and I learned all my lines and my songs and I would look forward to going the practices every day," she said. "It was a lot of fun. I love singing. I sing all the time."
Her positive outlook on life was also enhanced by her experience.
"When my parents told me, I just said, 'As long as I am alive, I am fine,'" she recalled. "It changed my perspective on life. You really have to live life to the fullest every day as if it were your last and not take things for granted."
Muniz frequently speaks at fundraisers and area organizations that work with pediatric cancer patients.
"The last one I spoke at was at the Pediatric Cancer Foundation [in Mamaroneck]," she said.
Shortly after speaking (and singing) at the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Muniz received a call from Tamika Blaize, founder and president of A Princess for a Day.
"I wasn't really sure what it was," she admitted, but, "It turns out they choose a couple of girls every year and one cancer survivor to be involved with A Princess for a Day."
The organization collects donated dresses from celebrities and refit them for its beneficiaries, but Charlize Theron doesn't keep her runway dresses, Muniz explained. Instead, she donated $500 to Muniz to spend on a prom dress.
Muniz struggled to find her perfect prom dress at first, but with Theron's funds, she and her mother found the perfect fit.
Muniz was surprised when she fell in love with an ivory-colored gown, but loved the back detail.
"For a girl, prom is like the second thing below a wedding because you get to go all out," she explained.
Muniz said her prom night "was absolutely amazing."
"I had a lot of fun with my friends and boyfriend taking pictures with everyone and dancing," she said. "It was truly and amazing night and I am so lucky and blessed."
With graduation literally right around the corner, Muniz said she's had "a lot of fun" in high school making friends and developing a love for music. She intends to eventually pursue a music career and will start off by attending the The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City in the fall.
She still has a sunny attitude and would encourage any young person going through a similar experience to adopt the same.
"Find something you like that keeps your mind off things," Muniz advised. "And live life to the fullest."