Nguyen is a senior at Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan. Davis is a sophomore.
Nguyen was a part of a leadership group at the high school called Link Leader. She was in charge of helping freshman students settle into the school.
“I noticed him walking with his dad and it stood out to me,” she told BuzzFeed News. “Normally at freshman orientation you hope everyone shows up. I was just surprised to see him there with his dad.”
People with classic PKAN have trouble walking independently by their teen years and often need to use a wheelchair, according to NBIA Disorders Association, a research group specializing in rare neurological movement disorders.
They also develop challenges with chewing swallowing, speaking and involuntary muscle spasms.
“He can’t talk anymore so we have really short conversations,” Nguyen said. “Before he was able to say a few words and stuff but now it’s putting his thumb up or down to answer my questions. We’d talk about his week, what he did. Just short conversations.”
Nguyen is a part of a program called Navigators which assigns high school kids to work with students with disabilities.
Outside of the program, the two started having lunch together and talking in the hallways between class.
“Ever since I met Ben I thought he’d be the perfect person to ask because we’re friends and we have this bond together,” she said.
“I want him to get that experience,” she added. “People with disabilities don’t get the attention they want and no one really pays attention to them.”
A few of Nguyen’s friends held a box with writing on the side that read, “I’ll ask you to prom when pigs fly.”
“I’m not sure if he knows exactly what prom is, but he’s excited to be included in something normal for everyone else,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”
“There are so many normal things he misses out on,” she added. “For Vee to give him this opportunity that normal high schoolers do is truly a gift.”
The high school’s prom is in May. Davis will be accompanied by his father. They both plan to wear a tux.
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