From the moment Briel met her first horse at 18-months, she was smitten. Briel is shy and quiet, but there was something about horses that made her light up. Horses offered a much-needed escape for a little girl who began fighting cancer before she reached her first birthday.
Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at just 11 months, Briel's short life has not been easy, but horses have always offered a calming escape.
When wish-granting volunteers visited four-year-old Briel to determine her heartfelt wish, she lit up! Briel explained how she loved putt-putt, the colors pink and purple and, most importantly, horses. From the My Little Pony toys she played with to the cowboy boots she wore, it was obvious that a vacation to a Dude Ranch was the perfect fit for Briel’s wish.
Briel, along with her mom, dad and brother Gus, set off on Briel’s wish trip that August. Arriving in Missoula, Montana late on Monday, the family of four spent the night in a nearby hotel, excited for what the next week had in store for them.
The following day, Briel and her family traveled to Rich Ranch, a traditional dude ranch vacation destination that the family would call home for the upcoming week. Jack and Elinda Rich, the owners of Rich Ranch, greeted the whole family and invited them to take part in all of the activities their ranch had to offer.
For the rest of the week, the family spent their time exploring and enjoying the great outdoors. From fishing at the on-grounds trout pond, to hiking, mountain biking, and swimming in the lake, the family tried everything. Most exciting for Briel were the horseback rides the ranch offered on their winding trails. Briel took full advantage of this opportunity to spend time with her favorite four-legged friends.
Briel and her family left the ranch feeling refreshed and recharged.
"We're really grateful," said Briel's mom, Melissa, upon returning home from their trip. "It's an amazing thing, because we're still paying medical bills and Make-A-Wish was able to provide for our children that we never could."
All-in-all, Briel’s trip to Rich Ranch allowed her to leave her worries behind in the city and live freely as the cowgirl she’s always been!