Press release from Red Bank Catholic High School
Marianna Williams, a bright 18 year old from Neptune who dreams of a career in finance, had an extraordinary couple of weeks by celebrating two teenage milestones while recuperating from a serious illness. On June 4, Marianna, dressed in cap and gown, participated in Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School Class of 2014’s graduation ceremony, direct from her room inside the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Joined by family, friends, physicians, nurses, and caregivers, Marianna Skyped from her room in the children’s pediatric intensive care unit to the RBC commencement ceremony, which took place at Monmouth University. Supported by the Child Life department at the children’s hospital. the graduating senior remotely joined the ceremony, and received a thundering applause from cheering classmates and supporters when her name was called.
Marianna, who was discharged from the hospital on June 9, still had one more teenage milestone to celebrate. Upon hearing that she missed RBC’s senior prom, hospital president Steven Littleson and Neptune Mayor Michael Brantley, DDS invited Marianna and her mom Teresa Goolcharan to attend the 21st Annual Neptune Mayor’s Ball last Friday, June 13 at Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune, which benefitted K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. As an honorary guest at the gala event, Marianna had the opportunity to wear her unworn prom gown.
K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital Child Life specialist Sara Auerbach, who coordinated the remote graduation and accompanied Marianna and her mom to the Neptune Mayor’s Ball comments, “I am so glad I had the opportunity to support Marianna and her family through graduation and the Neptune Mayor’s Ball. It’s important for every teen enjoy these once-in-a-lifetime celebrations. And in her own special way, Marianna and her family got to experience graduation and prom, despite being in the hospital. Helping young people like Marianna is what makes my job at the children’s hospital such a rewarding experience.”
“The support shown by both the community and my caregivers has been amazing. People who have never met me before treated me like I was a member of their family. I am really in awe of how everyone came together to help me,” says Marianna.