According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, about 1 in every 285 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.
Liv, a student at John Weldon Elementary, was one of those children. After being diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, a rare and aggressive type of cancer found in the central nervous system, she underwent surgery and had six weeks of radiation treatments.
Liv was then told she was cancer-free and rang the bell that signified her victory at St. Louis Children’s Hospital on Aug. 16.
“When Liv rang the bell, it was such an overwhelming feeling,” her mother, Leigh, said. “I mean, as a mom seeing your child have to go through something so traumatic as cancer, surgery, and treatment, there are no words.”
When the Make-a-Wish Foundation then asked the school if they wanted to participate in a grand wish reveal for Liv, the Student Wolf Pack planned an assembly where Liv and some classmates played trivia featuring Luke Bryan, a country music artist she liked listening to during her radiation treatments.
With each correct answer, Liv received a gift that served as a hint for her wish reveal, including horse pajamas, horse toys, a stuffed horse and a gift card for horse riding lessons. With the final correct answer, Liv received a video message from Debbie McDonald, former Olympic equestrian competitor and current Olympic coach, that revealed Liv was being sent to Colorado for horse-riding lessons.
“Liv has always begged to ride horses,” Leigh said. “Liv is a very outdoor kind of kid and the biggest animal lover you could find. It’s only fitting that she wants to combine her two dreams.”