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Promposal: A Love Story That Began with a Car Accident

May 21, 2019

Governor Mifflin teens are going to the prom, thanks to some Reading Hospital providers.

West Reading, Pa. – Sean Bachman and IsaBela “Bela” Santiesteban are going to the Governor Mifflin High School Junior/Senior Prom at Stokesay Castle in Reading on Saturday, May 18. Their journey in getting there did not have a very romantic start, but thanks to some caring professionals at Reading Hospital and Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing, it will have the perfect ending.

“It began with a car accident on February 17,” said Bachman, a 17-year-old junior at Governor Mifflin. “Bela and I had gone with a group of friends to a dance earlier in the school year, and that was the first time we had done anything together outside of school. We were going out for ice cream on February 17 and I wanted to sort of feel out how she might react to me asking her to the prom.”

He never got the chance. Around 7:30 p.m. Bachman was making a left turn at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Hillside Road near Sinking Spring when the accident occurred. He was taken to Reading Hospital Trauma Center with various broken bones, including nine broken ribs, a collapsed left lung, and a concussion. Santiesteban also was transported to Reading Hospital after sustaining a minor spinal fracture, a broken rib, and a lacerated kidney.

“I was there for eight days before being transferred to Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing for 10 more days,” Bachman said. “Bela came to visit me every day at Reading Hospital, so I was starting to think she really does like me. I got to talking with some of the nurses about how to ask her to the prom.”

The Reading Hospital Pediatric Unit nurses huddled and came up with a plan for the teenager. They photographed an X-ray of Bachman’s ribs and put it on a poster board with the words:

“I have broken ribs, don’t leave me with a broken heart.

Will you go to the prom with me?”

Shortly before Bachman was transferred to Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing, he got the opportunity to make his promposal. When Santiesteban came to visit him just after her discharge from Reading Hospital, Bachman was ready.

“He and I were both in wheelchairs and he had the poster board in his hands,” said Santiesteban, a senior at Governor Mifflin. “At first, I was very confused. It took me about 30 seconds before I realized he was asking me to the prom. Honestly, he was the only guy I wanted to go with. I was hoping he would ask.”

Now the prom date was set, but the staff at Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing would have a special surprise for the couple as well.

“Jim Hancik, one of our Patient Care Assistants, came up with the idea to start a collection and send Sean and Bela to the prom in a limousine,” said Nicole Hartman, Nurse Manager, Acute Rehabilitation Unit, Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing. “Jim reached out to colleagues throughout our building and some staff at the Reading Hospital Pediatric Unit. We were able to rent a limo from a local company. They were nice enough to even take a few bucks off the price because they loved the story so much.”

Bachman and Santiesteban were shocked by the kind gesture.

“Jim would come in and tell me he was going to drive us to the prom in a limo,” Bachman said. “I thought he was kidding, and then they really went and did it. I still have trouble believing it.”

“It is so incredibly sweet,” Santiesteban said. “It will make a special night even more special for us. I cannot thank them enough for all they did for us, both in the hospital and for our prom.”

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