Arely – a four-year-old girl battling a rare form of cancer – always wanted to meet a horse.
The brave little girl just longed to touch the velvet nose of a gentle horse. The non-profit, Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance, stepped in and with the help of Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, a mutli-breed horse show that benefits sick children, they made her dream come true.
Arrangements were made for her to visit the last week of the three-week-long charity horse show, but it all depended on Arely’s health. The day before the scheduled trip, Lauryn Sanford, Director of Sponsorship, Development, and Marketing for Pin Oak, received a call saying Arely was strong enough to leave hospice care and would be arriving tomorrow.
“We basically just did a call to the barns: ‘Anyone and everybody who is available, please come.’ She wanted to meet one horse, but we figured we could do better than that,” Lauryn said. “We were expecting maybe 25 horses, and then when we were lining up, it was like a stampede. It was one of the coolest moments, by far, that this show has ever seen.”
Just as Arely arrived a line of over 70 horses were lined up with their riders to meet the sweet girl. She had no idea that she would be meeting that many horses. At first, she was timid and probably shocked by all the horses and stayed in the car with the window down to greet the horses. However, she felt strong enough to get out and really experience a day as an equestrian.
She met miniature horses dressed up as unicorns and even went for a cart ride where she held the reins. After spending the day kisses and patting horses, she was given a stuffed horse by one of the exhibitors that she hugged tightly to her chest.
Her family was humbled by everyone’s generosity and kind gesture towards their beloved daughter. The family was able to take photos and spend a day with their daughter outside a hospital and witness her dream coming true. It is a day they will never forget.
Linda Pena, a Candlelighters Parent Consultant accompanied the family to translate for them since they only spoke Spanish. She said, “Like many, I too, was very touched by the love and support given to Arely on Friday afternoon by the Pin Oak Horse Show volunteers and staff. The smile on her face [was] priceless.”
Pine Oak Charity Horse Show has been a long time supporter of Texas Children’s Hospital donating over 6.5 million dollars to date.
Watch Arely giggle with excitement as she gets to meet and touch the nose of a horse in the video below.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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