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Remission for this 6-year-old girl from Alexandria means a Make-A-Wish unicorn party

Grinning from ear-to-ear, she was placed onto her very own “unicorn,” a horse dubbed Elvis who had been painted a variety of bright colors, complete with a horn strapped to his forehead.

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Addie Schmit on her "unicorn" Elvis, handled by Crystal Young.
Cassie Williams / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — A unicorn party.

That was all 6-year-old Addie Schmit, of Alexandria, asked for after a brutal journey battling cancer.

And her wish came true Saturday, as friends, family and volunteers with the Make-A-Wish foundation threw her party at Reclamation Ranch, near Mitchell.

Friends and family gathered around a pink stretch limousine to watch Addie's reaction as she was granted her wish after over a year of fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

4-year-old fighting congenital heart disease

The most commonly diagnosed cancer in children, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, is a type of blood and bone marrow cancer that affects the production of healthy white blood cells.

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“What she has is curable, but she does have a gene — it's called the Philadelphia Gene — that makes it more likely that she relapses," said Sarah Schmit, mother to Addie. "But for now, we’re hopeful. She’s in remission, and we’re just taking it day by day.”

But despite roughly a year of fighting the disease, Addie's prognosis was the last thing on her mind Saturday.

Before she even set her feet on the ground, Addie was whisked away to the festivities she'd only thought of in her wildest imagination.

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Addie and family arriving to her unicorn-inspired party in a pink stretch limousine.
Cassie Williams / Mitchell Republic

Grinning from ear-to-ear, she was placed onto her very own “unicorn,” a horse dubbed Elvis who had been painted a variety of bright colors, complete with a horn strapped to his forehead.

On either side of her stood Disney princesses Aurora, Belle and Tianna, as well as Elvis’ handler, Crystal Young.

The shindig was complete with a lemonade stand, two bouncy houses, a blowup water slide, “unicorn” rides, chocolate cake and ice cream and a free Hungry Dog food truck.

“It’s been pretty overwhelming. I sent out a thousand texts just inviting people. We invited her whole class, and almost everyone showed up, which is amazing,” Sarah Schmit said. “It was worth it. We snuggle up on the bad days and we have fun on the good ones — this is a good day.”

Some onlookers were even moved to tears, saying that if anyone deserves this kind of celebration, it would be Addie, whose character was described by attendees as bubbly and vivacious, despite the hard road she’s traveled.

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“This was more than I could’ve ever imagined,” Sarah Schmit said.

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Addie with her parents, Darin and Sarah Schmit, and brothers Dayton and Jaden.
Cassie Williams / Mitchell Republic

Months of planning and coordination

Beginning to end, Addie’s unique wish took about seven months of planning and countless groups working hand-in-hand.

"Addie has such a big imagination and we wanted to do it justice,” said Joe Evenson, senior director of program services for South Dakota and Montana’s Make-A-Wish Foundation. “It was really fun to try to bring her ideas to life. We’ve never held a unicorn party before."

Working with supporters such as Reclamation Ranch, Helping with Horsepower and Midwest Class Racers for the animals and Ever After Entertainment — so Addie could meet her favorite Disney princesses — Evenson expressed gratitude for those who assisted Make-A-Wish in the execution.

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Volunteers prep trained therapy horses for little unicorn riders on the big day.
Cassie Williams / Mitchell Republic

“This chapter of Make-A-Wish has been around since 1984," Evenson said, "and there’s only ever been one unicorn wish.”

Sarah Schmit, however, said Evenson's dedication, even during his time off, made it possible.

"He called me at 6:30 at night, obviously at a sporting event — probably for his own kiddos — just trying to nail down specifics for the party,” she said. “He was incredible during the planning, during all of this.”

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Since 1984, Make-A-Wish has granted over 2,200 wishes to children, like Addie, and their families in South Dakota and Montana.

Those wishing to get involved with the organization are encouraged to check out the Make-A-Wish website.

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Make-A-Wish volunteers set up a lemonade stand.
Cassie Williams / Mitchell Republic

Related Topics: MITCHELLHEALTHHORSES
Cassie Williams joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2022. To get in contact with Cassie about potential stories or ideas, feel free to email her at cwilliams@mitchellrepublic.com.
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