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Ellie's Wish

Ellie and Johnny

“He was everything I ever wanted... ”

- Ellie

Ellie has always been a bit crazy about horses. The 11-year-old Queen Creek resident only started riding at the age of 10 but according to her mom, her love started early on when, at the age of 2, she desperately wanted a gilded rocking horse for Christmas. Santa was nice and brought her the horse and a life-long love affair began!

“My entire life, I have loved horses and, for my 10th birthday, my mom gave me riding lessons,” said Ellie.

According to Ellie, those riding lessons were amazing and as she became more comfortable in the saddle, she started to think of herself as a true horsewoman. That is why her diagnosis of a brain tumor a mere eight months later was both shocking and heart-wrenching.

“I was getting really bad headaches but, at first, doctors thought it was just sinus headaches because I always get sinus infections,” said Ellie. “Then, in October, I woke up in agonizing pain and was vomiting and my mom knew that something was wrong. So my mom took me to see my doctor, who ordered an MRI.”

That MRI showed a tumor that required immediate surgery, which then meant months off her beloved horses. Yet, she never stopped thinking of riding and when the opportunity to have a wish was presented to her by Make-A-Wish® Arizona, Ellie knew what her wish would be.

“I wished for a horse,” she said.

In the coming months, her wish granters worked with local stables, horse breeders and horse owners to find just the right horse, with just the right temperament and stability for an 11-year-old new rider.

This May, Ellie met the beautiful quarterhorse Johnny and it was love at first sight!

“He was everything I ever wanted, he was the right color, he was the same age as me (11) and he was the right gender,” she said. “He’s the most beautiful, most obedient horse I have ever ridden.”

“My wish was such an amazing experience!” she continues. “I was completely blown away and my wish granters got me everything I wanted and more!”

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June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM


Hi Ellie. My name is Leslie. My husband and I both have a love for horses like you do. And my husband also has a brain tumor. I know, with prayer and faith, that you both will ride again soon. You never know...We're only 20 miles from Queen Creek. Maybe we will ride together! Keep the faith. I will be praying. Leslie

March 25, 2014 - 8:44 AM

Claire Yar - Ellie's Momma

I would like to thank all of the people that made this wish possible. We were humbled and amazed at the outpouring of love and devotion that has been shown to my daughter Ellie, and by the horse community in Arizona. This wish has changed our lives in so many ways. We have met people we never would have met, spoken to people we never would have spoken to, attended events we never dreamed possible. Make a Wish is an AMAZING organization from the top down. They make kids' dreams come true every single day. There are special places in heaven for all of these angels <3

March 25, 2014 - 10:09 AM

Jeanne Vaughn

What a brave girl and mom! Wow. I'm so happy everyone is ok. Grandma, that must have been hard for you! I had an idea regarding housing the gelding. If you're boarding are you able to shop around for other options? Some places will let a young person work off some of the board. That wouldn't mean a person would have to stop riding at their current stable. Thank you for sharing this story. God Bless You all

April 08, 2014 - 3:54 PM

Make-A-Wish® Arizona
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Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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