Surprise visit from stallion brings holiday joy to Florida cancer patient


When Anissa Cottongim was diagnosed last December with leiomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that affects the smooth muscle tissue of the body, she knew Mayo Clinic was the place to go. “Mayo Clinic is, well, Mayo. And I knew I needed a specialist since this sarcoma is rare,” says Anissa, 51.

But little did the Ocala, Florida, resident realize just how far the team at Mayo Clinic would go to address her needs. As she was wheeled outside, Anissa spotted an odd sight: a horse was grazing on a grassy knoll between the hospital’s emergency room and employee entrance. The horsed looked familiar; similar to Tatendrang, a 14-year-old German Trakehner stallion Anissa owned. But Tate, as her horse was more commonly known, was training and competing in Alabama, five hours away.

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