With two diabetic parents, no health insurance and two younger siblings to help care for, Alisha Pavlik's prospects of a fun night at her junior prom seemed pretty dim.
The 16-year-old student at Shanksville-Stonycreek High School in Somerset County had been busy taking her mom, Connie Pavlik, to the hospital, while her often-unemployed dad, Mark Pavlik, was working at a nuclear power plant in Texas, trying to earn enough money to pay the hospital bills.
While she took on the role of family caregiver, forgoing her favorite pastimes -- cheerleading and spending time with friends -- Alisha would daydream about having a night off and attending the prom.
That dream came true earlier this month, when Alisha was named a winner in the $2,000 "Say Yes to the Prom Dress" makeover from Kymaro, the health and beauty company perhaps best known for its body-shaping apparel advertised on TV infomercials.
Alisha, who lives in Stoneycreek, was entered into the contest by her aunt, Beth Davis, a consumer blogger.
"We had a blast!" Alisha said of the May 8 prom, which she attended with her good friend, Joey Morrison, 17, of Latrobe.
Her makeover started with repairing the damage from an ill-fated attempt to bleach her hair, Alisha said.
That was taken care of by Angelito's Hair Co. & Spa and paid for by Kymaro. Her treatments included hot oil hair repair, dying of her hair back to its natural chestnut color and hair extensions, which she got to keep.
After a complete makeover provided by the salon, her family and friends were floored by the difference in her appearance.
"People didn't believe it," said Alisha, who wore some of the company's shape wear. "My mom didn't recognize me when she walked in."
Her dress, shoes, jewelry and other accessories were paid for by the company, as was a luxury car and driver for the night. Alisha shared the chauffeur with two other friends.
Kymaro also paid $50 for tickets to the prom, which was held at the Hidden Valley Ski Resort and had a Parisian theme.
"Kymaro received 500 applications nationwide for its contest and chose five winners. The others winners were from California, Georgia, Utah and Michigan.
"It was a very hard decision as there were so many heart-warming stories, so many people we wanted to help," said Romy Fazeli, creative director of Kymaro. "We chose five applicants to win based on a number of different reasons, but overall we chose girls who were hard-working, good girls who really just needed a little bit of help when it came to their confidence."
Alisha, who thought she might never have a normal life, hopes to attend business college and someday open her own spa.
Janice Crompton: firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-223-0156.