Cheyenne loves a challenge. Ever since she was a young girl, she has devoted her spare time to practicing her barrel-racing skills. The amateur competition is fast-paced and rigorous … taking her to different arenas in Texas where the goal is to guide her horse around barrels in a race against the clock. The fastest rider who completes the course without knocking over a barrel wins.
But barrel racing isn’t the biggest challenge Cheyenne faced early in life.
When she was 5 years old, her family recalls feeling frustrated because Cheyenne had a fever that was difficult for her doctor to diagnose. Finally, her parents took her to the nearest hospital emergency room; the doctor on duty was a retired oncologist who provided an initial diagnosis of leukemia. The years of treatment were difficult with the family forced to stay for days with Cheyenne while she was hospitalized. Yet her family viewed every long drives and hospitalization as a chance to be by her side and help her heal. ”As a parent, you do what you have to do and you don’t even think twice about it when it’s your child,” said Cheyenne’s mom, Lori.
The challenges of fighting leukemia were made easier for Cheyenne and her family thanks to Milton Verret, owner of Moonshine Sweet Tea. In 2010, Milton and another company he founded, US Money Reserve, granted 60 Wishes in 60 Days for Make-A-Wish® Central & South Texas which made it possible for Cheyenne, then 6 years old, and her family to travel to Nashville to attend the Country Music Association Awards. “For me, the best part of the whole Nashville experience was meeting all the stars and talking to other country-western music fans,” said Cheyenne.
Now a healthy teenager, Cheyenne recently visited Austin and helped Milton and Moonshine Sweet Tea present Make-A-Wish America with a $250,000 donation to grant wishes for other children facing life-threating medical conditions. “Make-A-Wish is fantastic. We love the way they help kids and the families,” said Lori.
As for 17-year-old Cheyenne, she’s taking a break from barrel racing as she gets ready to head off to college where her goal is to earn a degree in nursing. Her interest in a medical career goes back to her childhood days when she was battling leukemia. The senior in high school wants to care for patients who are facing an illness. And someday she’d like to return to Nashville to see more of her favorite country western musicians take the stage. Her parents will be forever grateful to Make-A-Wish for providing Cheyenne with a positive experience. They’re also happy their daughter is living the healthy, busy life of a typical teenager.