CHESTERMERE – After becoming aware of a young girl who has requested a wish of owing her own horse and tack, two local riders are working hard to raise some money to help make that wish come true.
Kelsey Simpson and Rebecca Richardson are dedicated and empathetic young show jumpers who ride out of Riqueza Riding Academy, just east of Chestermere. Both believe in being able to share their passion and give back when they can, which is why they have decided to hold the “Changing Our Stars” fundraiser. The event will raise money to go toward the Rainbow Society of Alberta, a group that grants wishes to chronically ill children.
Both Simpson and Richardson can appreciate the joy that comes from owning a horse, so they didn’t hesitate in deciding to help grant the wish, which was requested by a 12-year-old girl from Medicine Hat.
“We thought her story was really cool and we wanted to help her out so she could get her wish,” Rebecca said. “We thought it was a great opportunity and so we decided to take it.
“We can relate too because we’re that age, and if we were in that situation we would want someone to help us too.”
The girls haven’t been provided with the name or even a photo of the girl they are sponsoring, but hope that they might get to meet her someday. Rebecca said that for now, they are simply happy to put the event together for her, and are hoping it is a success.
“If you could imagine being in her shoes and how it would feel if someone held an event for you and it sold out, that would probably be the best feeling in the world,” she said.
All money raised at the event will be directed to this specific wish, not the Rainbow Society as a whole.
Rebecca’s mother, Paula, said that knowing exactly where the money is going is what makes it a unique opportunity for the girls.
“It’s not like most charities where you donate and you’re not sure exactly where your dollars go,” she said. “In this case, all of the money raised will go directly to this little girl and her wish of having a horse and tack.”
Kelsey said that they are also happy to give back to an organization that grants wishes to kids who are chronically ill, not terminally ill.
“The fact that it helps grant wishes for kids that aren’t going to die is something we like about the Rainbow Society,” she said. “These kids have illnesses that will disable them for life, so the fact that they do this and grant them wishes that they can remember forever is really cool.”
The “Changing Our Stars” event will be held at Lakeside Golf Club on Saturday, March 31. Tickets are $60, which includes a buffet-style dinner. There will be a silent auction, some speeches and presentations, a pinball tournament and a golf chipping competition.
Some silent auction items include a free listing from a Calgary realtor, photographs, golf packages, a hotel stay in Banff and more.
“Both of these girls have had an experience in their lives where part of their healing has come through from their relationship with their horse,” said Kelsey’s dad, Tim Simpson. “So having felt that, they know what it could do for someone else.
“We’re proud of them for their hard work. It’s going to be a great event.”
For tickets, call 403-901-9312 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.