When Ginger was four years old she took her first horseback riding lesson. From that moment on she knew that she’s always wanted to be a cowgirl, and that horses would forever have a special place in her heart.
Ginger was just six years old when she was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor after complaining of kidney pain. After Ginger was diagnosed, she immediately started chemotherapy treatments to shrink the size of the tumor, but would eventually need to have her kidney removed later that same year.
“The treatment schedule impacted our entire family,” said Ginger’s mom,
Heather. “At first we were able to go to the hospital close to our house in Montrose, but as her treatments increased and got stronger, we spent more time in Denver. This lasted for more than 11 months.”
Even though Ginger’s treatments were brutal at times and left her exhausted and emotional, she remained positive, strong and brave – all qualities true cowgirls possess.
After Ginger was referred to Make-A-Wish Colorado, she instantaneously knew what wish she wanted.
“The volunteers didn’t even have to ask Ginger because she walked into the room and said, ‘I wish for a horse!’ and that was that,” said Heather. “Ginger didn’t even have to think about other possibilities for a wish because there were none. Having a horse was her one-true-wish.”
The wish took a lot of careful planning and preparation – Ginger’s family was busy preparing their Montrose home to soon house a horse and the Make-A-Wish Colorado staff was busy at work trying to find the perfect horse for Ginger. With the help of some real “wish magic”, they found her! Her name was American Glory.
American Glory, or Glory for short, was living with a past wish family in Tennessee. The family, being actively involved with the Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee chapter, donated Glory to helping Ginger's wish come true. Glory was a rescued mustang, well-tempered and great with young children. Now that Glory had been located, the next step was planning the long trek from Tennessee to Montrose, CO.
“Glory finally arrived on a late evening in May 2014,” said Heather. “It was like the Christmas morning feeling that you get but it lasts all day and well into the night. We were all so excited for Glory to arrive, especially Ginger. Ginger would randomly jump up and down or scream with excitement throughout the day anticipating Glory’s arrival. It was very sweet and special to experience.”
When Glory’s transport trailer arrived in Ginger’s driveway, the first thing Ginger did was run and hug the truck driver and say, “Thank you for bringing me my horse!”
Ginger is now in remission and cares for Glory every day, just like a real cowgirl. When Ginger grows up she hopes to be a horse trainer. Ginger wears a cowgirl hat and pink riding boots almost every day. The "wish magic" continues to grow on a regular basis because Ginger found out that one of her neighbors is a retired horse trainer and is now giving her free riding lessons with Glory!
“The wish changed Ginger,” said Heather. “It made her stronger, more responsible and it’s as if she grew up overnight. She’s in charge of caring for Glory who has become a member of our family.”