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Maya’s wish to attend the Kentucky Derby


“ We can’t thank Make-A-Wish enough for a profound once-in-a-lifetime experience! ”

- Maya's mom

  • Maya , 18

    • nervous system disorder
    • I wish to go to the Kentucky Derby
  • I wish to go

18-year-old Maya from Willow Street, PA attended the Kentucky Derby for her wish come true. Diagnosed with a nervous system disorder, Maya suffers seizures often in her daily life.

Her mother explained, “Currently, Maya has about 8 seizures before I even take her to school in the morning.” Maya is instantly calmed when she’s around horses. She says, “being around horses is very soothing for me”. Maya’s seizures prevented her from becoming a horseback rider, which is why she decided to volunteer at a local horse farm.

Maya’s mother explained, “She can have countless seizures on the way to the farm and countless seizures on the way home from the farm, but the whole time she’s working with those animals she has no seizures. It’s amazing.” Maya calls the farm her “happy place” because it is the one place where she can live seizure free. Horse therapy has had a huge impact on controlling her illness, and she hopes to|pursue this as her future career to help other local children battling various illnesses.

When Maya learned that she would be receiving a wish from Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, she was excited to find that her dream of attending the Kentucky Derby could become a reality. Her wish week was full of surprises; in addition to attending the big race, Maya also visited the Kentucky Derby Museum, toured Churchill Downs, met past Derby winners and attended the Longines Kentucky Oaks Race. The wish experience was certainly a whirlwind for Maya and her family, but they were able to create lifelong memories together.
Maya loved setting foot in a community that loves and admires horses as much as she does. She feels that she owes so much to horses and that is what made her wish trip so special. It was such a thrill for Maya to witness one of the most controversial Kentucky Derby races in the event’s history. Maya’s mother

shared, “Maya was confident about sharing with everyone she met her daily struggle with seizures. She was also bursting with happiness to once and for all be the center of good attention. She felt so important! We can’t thank Make-A-Wish enough for a profound once-in-a-lifetime experience for Maya! We are still in absolute awe!”

The impact of Maya’s wish continued long after her wish was granted. Her wish story became a viral sensation-so much so that a horse training center in North Carolina reached out about naming one of their racehorses after Maya! Maya decided on the name ‘Maya’s Miracle’ and she even had the opportunity to meet her namesake months after the wish was granted. The family loved meeting Maya’s Miracle and hopes to see her race in the Kentucky Derby one day!

Maya’s wish exemplifies how a single wish can transform not only the lives of children and their families, but of entire communities.

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