Wyatt Haas, 5, pressed his mother to take him to a unicorn store after two of the mythical creatures attended a party thrown by his kindergarten class.
Wyatt still can’t believe he got to ride one.
“I think the whole thing blew his mind,” said his mother, Corissa Haas, 27, of Fallon, Montana.
The party let the class say goodbye to Wyatt before he left last week for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. He was diagnosed last month with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor. Doctors at St. Jude hope to remove the tumor this week.
The party, held days before his surgery, was organized by Jennifer Nielsen, a mother of one of Wyatt’s classmates.
“It really hit home because my son is the same age and it could be us,” Nielsen said.
The idea for a party came to Nielsen as she drove her son, Landon, to school. She messaged other parents, who, within hours, offered to bring party supplies, two cakes and fruit juice.
Nielsen’s family owns a cattle ranch, and one of their horses, Bonanza, is a luminescent white. Another mother offered her snow-white pony, Lily.
The pair were cast as unicorns and painted the colors of the rainbow with bright chalk sticks.
With three days’ notice, half the class attended the party at a local park on Saturday, Dec. 7. Each child got a unicorn ride, including Wyatt, who is obsessed with unicorns.
The cover photo of a Facebook page Wyatt’s parents made about his progress, called Wyatt’s Journey, shows Wyatt in a hospital bed sandwiched between two unicorn stuffed animals.
When he had to choose which of his stuffed animals — some as tall as he is — to bring to St. Jude, he chose a lion-corn, a lion with a horn. A classmate had left it in his locker days before the party.
“He loves anything with color, which means unicorns,” said his father, Zachry Haas, 36. “He’s a happy child. He loves life.”
Zachry Haas, a machinist for a railway company, provides the family’s only income, so he initially stayed home with Wyatt’s younger siblings: Asher, 4, and Aspen, 1. But he left for Tennessee to be with Wyatt after doctors decided to perform the surgery.
The family is hoping to cover Wyatt’s medical expenses with a GoFundMe account that has raised more than $8,000.
The family has also received support from several residents of eastern Montana since moving to rural Fallon at the end of July, Zachry Haas said. People from neighboring towns follow Wyatt’s Facebook page and send gifts and cards. One class at another elementary school made a mural of unicorn drawings.
“It’s not an amazing situation, but just seeing how awesome everyone is gives us hope,” Zachry Haas said.