Six-year-old Noah is fearless just like the cowboys he admires so much in old Westerns like Bonanza, his favorite show. Diagnosed with medulloblastoma, Noah has had quite the battle, but he has fought courageously, as any true cowboy would. When Make-A-Wish® learned of Noah's condition, they offered to grant him a wish. He wished for horseback riding lessons, but Make-A-Wish wanted to make his day even more memorable by turning him into a bona fide cowboy.
After lunch at Lone Star Steakhouse with his family, Noah arrived by limousine to Oak Hill Farm where he would attend "Cowboy School." Greeted by boisterous applause from family and friends, Noah began his training by dressing the part. With a quick change into true western attire, including suede chaps and a red hat, he busted through the swinging doors of the outfitters prop shop, ready for his first lesson with authentic cowboy, Howard Anderson. After a few attempts at roping a cactus, Noah and Howard walked through the stable to meet Noah's horse. Like a natural, Noah hopped right into the saddle and proudly rode his horse with his signature toothless grin stretching from ear-to-ear.
"He looks so happy," said his mother. "Noah loves the whole cowboy persona, with the chaps and everything. He just loves it."
Noah still has a year of riding lessons to look forward to, but he will never forget his first ride. With a "Cowboy School" graduation certificate in hand, Noah strutted down from the stable to enjoy ice cream, sponsored by Blue Bunny, with his family and friends.
In a 2011 Wish Impact Study, commissioned by Make-A-Wish America, 89 percent of medical professionals say a wish experience can favorably influence a child's health. With rope and a horse in tow, it seems like Noah, indeed, is set for happy trails.
Photo credit: Kate Buckley Photography