This year our wish child is Alannah, who has a neuro-developmental disability. At just six months old, an MRI identified that Alannah had a genetic syndrome, and over the years Alannah has faced many challenges, including seizures, pneumonia and global developmental delays.
Between visits to hospitals and specialists, a love for horses slowly grew inside Alannah, and in primary school Alannah started riding through the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA). It was there that she met a horse called Cheerio, who she bonded closely with.
Alannah’s mother, Caroline, explains. “She would hug him and chat to him, and it was her happy place. She was relaxed and happy when she was horse riding.”
Sadly, Cheerio passed away, which was a massive loss for Alannah and the other children who had formed a bond with him.
Six months after Cheerio’s death, Alannah met Teddy, a horse that was on loan to the trainer who was giving her lessons.
When Teddy’s owner put him up for sale, Caroline got in touch with Make-A-Wish.
The Wish Force sprang into action to keep Alannah and Teddy together. Not only had Alannah already developed a special bond with Teddy, but finding a horse with the right sweet, calm temperament for Alannah to ride could be tricky.
So in May 2021, when Alannah was 14 years old, her wish “I wish to have my own horse” was granted. Alannah’s family, friends and Make-A-Wish volunteers came along to see Alannah ride Teddy for the first time as Teddy’s owner. They celebrated her wish with a cake as well as giving her presents that contained all the riding gear she would need.
“It was quite overwhelming; you become a bit speechless,” Caroline said. “The realisation that a dream and opportunity like this was coming true was just amazing. I don’t think I have seen her so happy.
“To see her on the horse and everyone watching what she could do was the moment of her lifetime.”
And that’s why, here at Barry Plant, we are so proud to be a sponsor of Make-A-Wish. They deliver such happiness to children when they are going through tough times and enormous challenges.
If you'd like to make your own donation and support Make-A-Wish, head on over to our Fundraising Page >