Christmas came early for one BC teen and “horse nut” when the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted her wish for an equestrian shopping spree. The 17-year-old girl named Hillary has cystic fibrosis and had declined offers to be granted a wish from the foundation in previous years because she didn’t want to take another kid’s wish away. But sadly, her mom passed away a couple of years ago and that life-altering event made Hillary decide to say yes the next time Make-A-Wish came calling ‒ and they did.
Hillary, who travels from her home in the Okanagan to Vancouver four times a year for therapy, said in an article with a local news outlet that her wish was simple: “I wish to have a horse riding gear shopping spree.”
Her father, Tim, told the reporter, “She probably spends five days a week with her horse in Kelowna. Horses have been really good for Hillary. They are very therapeutic, both physically and mentally.”
According to Hillary, when she was younger the medical advice was to quit riding altogether because of the effect of dust and allergens might have on her lungs. “Throughout my earlier clinic visits as a child, I was advised to stop riding because of the ‘unsanitary environment’ and ‘dusty hay’ but I’ve got to tell you, riding is the best solution to any problem,” she said in the story. “Horses have been my therapist through my darkest moments, pride during my happiest, and happiness throughout my entire life. It’s no secret that we become overwhelmed about our conditions and what the future entails for us and our family, but I encourage people to do what makes them happy. Health is priority, but happiness is not far behind.”
Hillary’s horse is named Zoe, and the shopping spree included a new saddle, a one-night stay in a Vancouver hotel, and a riding lesson with West Coast dressage rider and coach Wendy Christoff.
“Nothing compares to riding,” Hillary said in the interview. “I would really, really like to thank everyone involved, who helped to make this experience what it was.”
Make-A-Wish teamed up with BraveFace, a eco-conscious company who designs and makes 100% Canadian face masks and coverings. Every purchase of one of their three-layer masks directly supports Make-A-Wish British Columbia Yukon. You can also find a chapter in your area and other ways to donate here.