It is never an easy thing to feel different, especially as a child. For Olivia, the realization that she was different from other kids sunk in around age 7.
“She had a long hospital stay and after she was discharged, she came home and just sat on the couch for days where she just cried and cried. I think it was her absorbing the reality that she’s different and this is serious and it’s what makes her different than other kids,” said her mother Amanda.
Olivia was diagnosed with a heart condition four hours after she was born. Due to the severity of her heart condition, she has always seen her illness as a hindrance from all the things other kids were able to do.
As discussions of a heart transplant started to arise, Olivia’s mother felt it was time to look into Make-A-Wish®. Olivia’s uncle was a wish kid and her family knew first-hand the impact a wish experience has on a child. Following her grandmother’s recommendation, Olivia’s mother started filling out the referral forms.
Once the paperwork and doctor approvals were complete, Olivia got a visit from her wish granters. She was so excited to meet them! As soon as they arrived, she quickly brought them to her room that was decorated with all things horses.
“She was so excited to show off her room…it had horses all over it! When we started talking about her wish, it kind of made sense that it would be something horse related,” said wish granter Jaime.
Olivia and her family flew to Rocking Horse Ranch in New York for her wish trip. There, Olivia was able to experience the ranch life first hand! Throughout the week she was able to ride, feed and take care of the ranch owner’s horse Trigger, play at the waterpark with her siblings and even go mountain tubing.
“All the things she got to do and see were amazing. But I think the most amazing thing was her perspective. After her wish, Olivia embraced who she was, including her illness. She realized this is a unique part of who she is,” recalls dad Devin.
It has been said that a horse is the projection of people’s dreams about themselves – strong, powerful and beautiful. For Olivia, the week at Rocking Horse Ranch brought those dreams to life.
It was a week that brought Olivia so much joy, but even better than that it brought a change in perspective. She now embraces her illness and sees a life beyond her heart condition. All of this, because of the power of a wish.