Make a Wish kid Tiana, along with her parents, David and Elizabeth, came to Kentucky to make Tiana’s wish to meet Zenyatta come true. They got that, and so much more.
Ten-year-old Tiana, who has myeloid leukemia, a treatable, but incurable cancer which is extremely rare in children, was introduced to Zenyatta on Friday. The champion mare was patient and gentle with her young fan, enjoying peppermints and pats from Tiana and given her gentle nuzzles back to show her affection for her tiny fan.
Lane’s End Farm rolled out the red carpet, allowing Tiana loads of hands-on time with her favorite horse, as well as some special gifts to take home. Tiana also got to play with foals and visit the stallion barn, where she met A. P. Indy, Candy Ride and others before heading to Keeneland for a V. I. P. Day at the races.
The following day, Tiana went to Stonestreet Farms to meet Rachel Alexandra and see more foals. After that, it was off to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, where she got to watch the competition with the riders, meet Olympian Bruce Davidson and got legged up on Rolex competitor Sir Oberon by his rider, Ellen Doughty, after the horse cooled out from his cross-country run.
Sunday, Tiana was welcomed to Old Friends by founder Michael Blowen, where she met Silver Charm, Game On Dude, and others. After that, it was off to Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm to meet Curlin, Midnight Lute, Blind Luck and Bayern, the last of which she cheered on at Santa Anita as he won the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“It’s been amazing to see so many people in the horse industry come together to give her one unforgettable experience after another. I’m so thankful for the time so many took out of their busy schedules to give her a life changing weekend,” said Make a Wish board member Jen Roytz. “These wishes give kids and their families a respite from hospital visits, needles and everything else that comes with battling a life-threatening illness. For a few days they can forget about all of that and just focus on having fun. So often, families tell us that having a wish granted gives these children a renewed sense of fight, perseverance and purpose as they confront their illness. It’s literally life-changing.”