‘Unicorn’ Surprises Young Cancer Patient for Christmas

Jan 10, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Lily Rose Cramer is a courageous 6-year-old living with cancer in Little Egg Harbor who had one of her all-time wishes granted two days before Christmas. A unicorn stopped by to brighten her evening when she returned from a medical-related visit.

The unicorn, named Monster, was a race horse in its previous life, currently living at Smitten Stables in New Gretna, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing horses that are neglected, abandoned, abused or at risk of being sent to slaughter. Mark and Kelly McGovern run Smitten Stables. Mark McGovern explained how “The Night of the Unicorn” came to be.

“We are a sister rescue to Tuckerton’s ‘Mama’s Gona Rescue’ nonprofit for dogs and cats, run by Amanda Wilkens. She was contacted by Christina Mcparland, who is a friend of Lily’s grandmother Joan Colandrea, who organized it.

“Everyone in our area knew about Lily. We are a small community here,” said McGovern, who is an ordained minister and recently officiated at Wilkens’ wedding.

McGovern said Monster was very cooperative despite his former life as a race horse and stood still for the glitter on his hooves, pastel color in his mane and the horn that magically grew from his forehead.

“It was such a special night. Lily had just gotten back from the hospital of a medical appointment when she saw the unicorn on the front lawn. Then a whole bunch of carolers from the high school (Pinelands Regional) started to sing.”

Because of her suppressed immune system, Lily had to watch from the porch with her family, though her brother was able to feed Monster some treats.

“We left a whole bunch of divets on the lawn,” said McGovern, “so she could prove the unicorn had been there.”

Smitten Stables currently has about 13 horses, a mule, 30 alpacas, four donkeys, 10 goats, two pigs and two turkeys that Mark and Kelly have been caring for through the cold and snow. On Tuesday, Mark was grateful for the change in the local weather: “Thank God for the sun!”

— Pat Johnson


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