Meet Penelope, our featured Wish Ambassador of January.
Penelope is the exclamation mark in the happiest sentence we could ever write. She's a witty, adorably sassy and confident 5-year-old, who brightens any room she walks into.
She's also a courageous fighter who has overcome the unimaginable.
“She spent the first two years of her life in the hospital, many of those days in isolation from outside,” said mom, Jessica. "For a while, we weren't sure she'd make it to her 3rd birthday."
Penelope was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, called Diamond-Blackfan anemia. She’s endured more than 50 blood transfusions and 30 hospital stays.
“The movie Brave got us through a lot of days,” said Jessica. “Merida and her horse.”
Dreams of chasing the wind and touching the sky on her own horse became intertwined with Penelope’s visions of the open air. As Penelope grew stronger, so did her dream.
A heartfelt wish to have a pony that Make-A-Wish®Oregon was honored to fulfill, with the help of Penelope's hometown and supporters, like you.
“A horse needs a fence,” said Brandon Smith, owner of Smith Field & Fence. “As we do in the country, neighbors take care of neighbors.”
Police officers, firefighters and high school football players joined forces with Smith. Together, they constructed a fence and corral for Penelope and her pony.
"All of the people that were at our house built me a fence and they made me a sign that said Penelope," said Penelope. "I liked it so much."
Community members hauled in riding gear and bales of hay. Nearly everything wound up being donated. Including Penelope’s horse, Cappy.
"He's very funny and he's very sweet," said Penelope. "I like to hug Cappy, but maybe I don't really kiss him because I bet his hair would get in my mouth."
Today, Penelope is a healthy, thriving kindergartner who loves going on neighborhood adventures with her trusted companion.
"I ride Cappy down the road, when he stops I pet him and tell him he's a good boy, cause he is a good boy," said Penelope. "It makes me want to feed him carrots. I love him so much!"
Penelope is also a Make-A-Wish Oregon Wish Ambassador who is Wishing It Forward by sharing her story. To support future wishes, like Penelope's CLICK HERE.