Bloomingdale Library rape survivor finally gets chance to go to prom

Derrick Perez/Join Queena

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) — Derrick Perez knew exactly who he wanted to take to the Bloomingdale High School prom.

It’s a rite of passage for any student, a moment they’ll always remember – being asked to the prom.  For Derrick, this date isn’t just any date. He is making dreams come true for one special young woman in Tampa Bay.

He admits, he was both incredibly nervous and yes, a little nervous when it came to the magic moment of asking his buddy to the prom.

His buddy is Queena Phu, who was attacked outside the Bloomingdale Library almost a decade ago, when she was 16. The attack left her with life-altering injuries. Phu is paralyzed, blind, and can not speak. She requires full-time care.

“I came in yesterday, and I’m about to ask,” Derrick told WFLA.  “I’m not gonna lie, I was shaking like crazy. I was nervous.”

In fact, Derrick made a poster to help him with his “prom-posal.” It turns out, this magic moment didn’t need any help. His beautiful, beaming prom date said yes.

But, there’s more to his prom date and meets the eye.

For Queena, it was a night that never happened. After a brutal attack nearly ten years ago, this student was unable to attend her own prom.
But, her friend Derek knew that one day, the right time, it would happen.

And, that time is now.

Derrick said, “We went. And, we were like.. Okay okay okay. Let’s do it.” With less than two weeks to go until prom night, Derrick and his friends are in full-fledged planning mode to make the date perfect.

“I think the most priceless thing was her smile. You know what I mean, how excited she got. So, it was pretty cool,” he said

But, the story goes much further. Not only is Derrick Queena’s prom date, he’s also producing an inspirational film on her story and her struggle, showing

that even through difficult times, something amazing can happen.

“You know, she’s fighting, she’s a fighter, she’s made it this far, her life was taken away from her, but she still continues to fight, no matter what,” Derrick told us.

And, in an emotional tribute from the past, this young woman will finally get to wear the prom dress she purchased many years ago. Her mother told

WFLA that she “wanted” to wear her own prom dress that she never got to wear.



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