MINNEAPOLIS A small town in central Minnesota put on a big event Saturday night to honor a first grader fighting for his life.

Curtis Lee Hiltbrunner was the guest of honor at the Crosby Elementary prom.

“This is awesome. It’s actually very emotional for me. I don’t know if I’ll get to see it again later. So, I mean, it’s very emotional for me,” Curtis Lee’s father Curtis Hiltbrunner said.

Curtis Lee was born with short bowel syndrome. After a triple transplant of liver, intestine and partial pancreas in 2007, doctors told his parents he wouldn’t live to age 10.

“It has been a nightmare. A complete and total nightmare,” Curtis Hiltbrunner said. “We battle every day. Uh, me and mom can’t work. Every time I get close to getting a job he ends up sick, we sit in a hospital for two, three weeks at a time”

On Saturday night Curtis Lee got the red carpet treatment. A prom night held in his honor gave him the chance to dress up in green, his favorite color and the color for organ donation, for an event he will likely never see.

“The odds for him to face his high school prom are pretty slim,” the prom’s organizer Mae Maurer said.

Curtis’ intestines have now completely shut down. His family is looking into another transplant that has only a thirty percent chance of survival.

“It’s so rare that they don’t really know why it’s shut down,” Hiltbrunner said.

As 300 kids enjoyed photos and limo rides, Curtis Lee danced the night away on the dance floor. His family said the best part was giving him a night to forget about being sick.

“He’s just brings joy to a lot of people and he’s a light,” Collins said.

“I just want the word out for him. As many prayers as I can get, it’s all I can ask for,” Hiltbrunner said.


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