Keeneland celebrates 15th Make-A-Wish-Day

Various kids got the VIP experience, including presenting trophies to winning jockeys

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)- Thursday marked the 15th year of Make-A-Wish-Day at Keeneland, a day that aims to help various children get the experience of a lifetime.

“When Charlie was eight weeks old, his legs stopped moving and just stopped kicking,” recalls Shelby Brimley, the mom of Charlie, one of the children chosen to attend Keeneland. “We ended up taking him into the emergency room, and they found a really large tumor compressing his spinal cord. A few weeks later, we found out it was cancerous. He had a really big surgery to remove it and ended up getting treatment for a year for that.”

“We found out that Boone had the heart deformity in utero when I was pregnant,” adds Mandy Harold, the mother of Boone, who was also chose to attend Keeneland’s Make-A-Wish Day. “So then we had to go live in Cincinnati for several weeks before he was born. He had a surgery when he was six days old, he had one at six months old. And then the heart began to fail and so then he was put on the transplant list where he stayed for about 58 days and then he got his transplant.”

The stories of survival and strength not only define the perseverance of the parents but also from their children.

“Charlie’s doing really well,” says Brimley. “First, we never knew if he was going to walk because of his spinal cord injury. And he ended up surprising us after a second birthday and just being very determined and walking way earlier than we thought he was going to.”

The children in attendance and their families were able to get the VIP treatment, complete with presenting a trophy to the winning jockey, an experience to some that goes above and beyond.

“It was really exciting to just see so many people supporting him. Like friends who are here, but also just so many strangers that are new friends that we’ve never met before,” added Brimley.

Both families say the experience in itself is a memory that will last forever.

“We’re going to look back on Charlie’s wish for our whole life and it’s going to be like a foundational part of our family. And like he’s always gonna know like what people did for him,” says Brimley.

“It’s not just about the monetary value of the wish or anything like that. But just the ability to have this experience for being something he can always look back on,” Harold adds.

Since it began, Make-A-Wish Day at Keeneland has raised $1.1 million for Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, enough to make more than 110 wishes come true.

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