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Hillary knew about The Make-A-Wish Foundation. She knew, as a child living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) that she qualified for a wish. Yet she declined the opportunity on several occasions. That all changed two years ago. Hillary’s mother passed away, bringing about a shift in Hillary’s perspectives about her life. The next time she was asked if she would like to be referred to Make-A-Wish, her answer turned into a ‘yes’.
Hillary makes the trek from her home in the Okanagan to Vancouver four times a year for hospital visits. In between, she seeks out her own therapies to manage her CF… and horse back riding is her favourite.
A self-described ‘horse nut’, Hillary can be found riding up to five days a week. Hillary’s father, Tim, sees it as essential to maintaining her health.
“She probably spends five days a week with her horse in Kelowna,” said Tim. “Horses have been really good for Hillary. They are very therapeutic, both physically and mentally.”
Hillary didn’t take long to settle on her wish: A horse riding gear shopping spree. The Lower Mainland Community of Langley answered the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s call for assistance, putting together not just a shopping spree (which included a beautiful custom saddle, pictured on the back of her horse, Zoe), but also a Vancouver hotel stay, limousine ride, and a private riding lesson with renowned dressage rider and coach Wendy Christoff at High Point Equestrian.
“Nothing compares to riding,” said Hillary. “I would really, really like to thank everyone involved, who helped to make this experience what it was.”
"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. 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."