updated 03/27/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/28/2013 AT 8:15 AM ET
It was a dream of 14-year-old Tennessean Katelyn Norman to attend her prom.
But on her way there Tuesday night, Norman, who has an aggressive bone cancer called osteosarcoma, experienced difficulty breathing and had to be airlifted back to Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Katie had been informed last weekend that “it has spread a lot, my cancer, and that it’s the beginning of the end of my days,” she told WATE-TV. With the prom planned in her honor, Katie insisted the dance still take place, despite her medical complications.
Her town did not let her down.
Inside her hospital room, family and friends threw a personalized prom for Katie, with her date presenting her with a corsage and a “Prom Queen” sash. Outside, hundreds of people took to the streets of Campbell County for a vigil.
Also attending the school’s public prom – whose theme was “Katie in the Sky with Diamonds” – was Mayor William Bailey, who had declared Tuesday “Katelyn Norman Day.”