IT WAS a mother's dying wish to see her home-schooled daughter take part in a regular Year 12 formal.

Paige Keam's entire female bloodline had been dancers for generations and, inspired by her mother, she had taken up the brutal schedule of ballet dancing.

With it, Paige sacrificed a normal teenage childhood to pursue her dream.

So Paige's mother Donna, on her death bed, set about finding a school that would grant Paige's formal wish.

Caloundra Christian College put its hand up, but sadly Donna lost her battle with breast cancer just weeks before the formal.

However, it was not before the entire family could put on a mock formal at Donna's bedside, thanks to the help of the Beautiful You Cancer Charity which provided hair dressing, make-up and the car.

Paige said she just wanted to give her mother a chance to see her dressed up like a lady.

Paige Keam with her late mother, Donna Keam.
Paige Keam with her late mother, Donna Keam. Contributed

"We realised things went downhill and she wasn't going to make it, and we already had the dress organised, so we had a little formal," she said. "All the immediate family were there and Dad even drove up from Sydney to be there.

"It was such a good opportunity and I sort of pushed it because I knew she always wanted to see me at my formal."

Donna passed away three days later and Paige stopped attending her dancing classes for the school formal after getting cold feet.

But the school's art teacher Sandy Johnson - who was a total stranger - called Paige up and convinced her to go ahead with the formal.

Paige's grandmother and guardian Jill said it was difficult for Paige, but the school had been extremely welcoming throughout her difficult time.

"After that (Donna's passing), Paige didn't want to go ahead because it was bringing back too many memories," she said.

"It was very special just to see her be able to have a formal with the other Year 12s, and they made it so special, I can never thank them enough.

"It's something that she'll remember for the rest of her life, the whole night was just magical."

But the surprises didn't end there.

One of the boys from the school, Isaac Borleis, asked her to go to the formal with him.

IN MUM’S HONOUR: Paige Keam, in the dress she wore to the big event, kept true to her mother’s dying wish by attending a Year 12 school formal.
IN MUM’S HONOUR: Paige Keam, in the dress she wore to the big event, kept true to her mother’s dying wish by attending a Year 12 school formal. John Mccutcheon


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