PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) - A 6 year old East Providence girl will not be able to trick or treat with her friends but thanks to a Facebook request and the Roger Williams Park zoo, the first grader won't miss the spirit of Halloween.
Her big brown eyes bounced along as she held her mom's hand while walking toward the zoo's Jack O Lantern Spectacular.
"Elephants," she said softly, when asked what her favorite animal is.
The pachyderms were already in for the evening but the red wolves trotted by Madelyn Parsons and her brother Branden and the 2 children got a front rail view of the bison, without a crowd.
"She loves Halloween," their mother Rayna Parsons said. "She loves it. She does. And her brother was born on that day, so."
Thoughts of goblins and pumpkins took a backseat after the family was hit with a recent shock. Teachers noticed Maddie's school work was erratic and that she was walking off-balance.
"And she got headaches," Parsons said. "So, we went to the doctor."
That's when a tumor was discovered on Maddie's brain stem.
"I lost it in the car ride home. I was shaking and crying," Parsons said. "I didn't know what to do. And they were in the back seat at the time."
Doctors scheduled an operation to remove the tumor and to hopefully analyze what caused it. Making a frightening situation even worse is the procedure is scheduled for October 30.
"I was like, what am I going to tell her? What am I going to do?" Parsons said. "We wanted to find find a way to at least let her feel like a kid while she's facing a grown up problem."
So, her friend sent Eyewitness News a Facebook message.
"She was very worried," Parsons said, smiling. "She said what are we going to do for her. She can't miss out on Halloween."
After receiving the message, Eyewitness News contacted the zoo about helping the Parsons enjoy an early Halloween without the long line and the crowd of the Jack-O-Lantern exhibit.
"I'm a cat," Maddie explained, as the sun went down and the lights went up inside the pumpkins.
The Parsons were VIP's for the night, strolling by the glowing displays of pop-culture.
"It's still like a blur to her right now," Parsons said.
But a bright blur for a 6 year old who got to feel like a kid only a couple of weeks before facing something that would frighten an adult.
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