Press Release

For Immediate Release
Jun 16, 2014
Contact : Maureen Gillespie, Marketing and Public Relations  
(732) 776-4166

RBC Graduate Takes Part in Commencement Ceremony Direct from Hospital Room and Attends
Neptune Mayor’s Ball as Honored Guest


Neptune, NJ - 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 at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. And to make up for the prom she missed while being hospitalized, Marianna attended the 21st Annual Neptune Mayor’s Ball on Friday, June 13 at Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune.  

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 – a program dedicated to creating a fun and positive environment for young patients – Marianna remotely joined the ceremony and received a thundering applause from cheering classmates and supporters when her name was called.    

“What we always say about our team at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital is that they care for every child as one of their own.  Marianna’s graduation ceremony was a great example of how our team does that, each and every day. Everyone understands the importance of seeing their child attend high school graduation, and Marianna’s family realized that dream, right here in our children’s hospital,” says Steven G. Littleson, FACHE, president of K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. 

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, and spoke to Neptune Township about the extraordinary care she received at the children’s hospital.
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.”  

“We were delighted to welcome Marianna Williams and her mom to this year’s Neptune Mayor’s Ball. As a young woman with a bright future, everyone in Neptune is touched by Marianna’s story and we gave her the opportunity to celebrate the prom night she missed as a result of her illness. Marianna’s experience at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital also personifies the value of the services provided by the children’s hospital, which we are so proud to support,” says Mayor Dr. Brantley.

“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.

About K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center:       

K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center is the first and most comprehensive provider of pediatric care in Monmouth and Ocean counties.  At the heart of Meridian Pediatric Network, the hospital includes a pediatric emergency department and acute care units supported by over 100 pediatric sub-specialists working together with community pediatricians to deliver the most complete, most coordinated care for kids in our communities. Whether it’s complex surgery or treatment for a chronic condition, the team of physicians, nurses and caregivers at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital treats each child as one of their own in a friendly and convenient setting, close to home. For more information about K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, call 1-800-DOCTORS, or visit