SHOUT OUT: The Shriners Circus launched the final performance of its recent leg in Morristown last night with a trio of special guests — 5-year-old Lily LaRue Anderson and her brother and sister — in an event made possible by some very caring people who learned of Lily’s inoperable brain tumor barely 48 hours earlier.
The tumor sits in the middle of the bubbly Wayne youngster’s brain stem and can’t be removed, doctors told her family just last Tuesday.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), as it’s called, is particularly cruel: The median overall survival term is 9 months.
Lily doesn’t have that long.
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YOU CAN HELP Lily’s family: Lily’s fight (GoFundMe)
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She got a huge hand from the circus audience at the Mennan Arena yesterday afternoon, then was escorted along with her brother and sister to a special seating area set up just for them, family members, loved ones and some new friends they made this weekend.
Those friends included Westwood Police Officer Scott McNiff, who, after reading of Lily’s illness on Friday in CLIFFVIEW PILOT , contacted fellow Freemason Dr. Andrew Kuo — who does charity work with the Shriners and sometimes pulls clown duty with their circus.
“A group of friends and brothers came through big-time, like they always do, to help a special family in need,” McNiff said.
In no time, Shriner Potentate John K. “Ziggy” Swauger arranged the visit. He also escorted Lily around, introducing her to the crowd and treating her like a favorite niece.
Lily and her siblings rode a camel, a pony and an elephant, and held a snake. They also enjoyed other thrills of the traditional three-ring circus — including a motorcycle-riding bear, jugglers, trapeze artists, high-wire acrobats and, of course, a carload of clowns.
Dave Steiner of the Tilden Tenakill Mason Lodge in Alpine loaded their seats with popcorn, snowcones, and cotton candy. Lily, her brother and her sister sat on mats right next to the ring. Swauger sat with them.
Another clown, Fred Koll Jr., also of the Alpine Lodge, gave the trio plenty of personal attention. The kids also got a clutch of stuffed animals and other toys to take home.
“Lily is so smart, funny, and loves life,” her parents wrote on a GoFundMe page. “She is an animal lover…chihuahuas, unicorns, owls, monkeys, and even worms. She loves taking photos, making videos, dancing, and doing silly impressions.
“Lily is always ready to show you a new trick, tell you a joke, and sing you a song,” the page says. “You are guaranteed a good laugh and big smile.”
Whatever is raised will be used for expenses associated with medical care and travel for treatments — and for any needs or wishes that Lily has.
If you can find a place in your heart for an angel who likely won’t see Christmas, it would be appreciated. Her family could use the help.
Lily’s Fight (GoFundMe)
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