Make-A-Wish recipient Corah Hanlon beams as she sidles up to Spirit

Len Wood / Santa Maria Times

Make-A-Wish recipient Corah Hanlon beams as she sidles up to Spirit

Kindergartener Meets Wild Horse in Make-A-Wish Trip

Corah Hanlon Feeds and Pets Spirit at Santa Barbara Horse Sanctuary

Corah Hanlon’s favorite movie is Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and on Thursday, the Make-A-Wish Foundation brought a big smile to the six-year-old’s face when she met the real life Spirit at a Santa Barbara horse sanctuary. Hanlon, from Portland, Maine, suffers from a life-threatening medical condition and received a kidney transplant from her father three years ago.

Hanlon knew from the beginning of her wishing process with the Foundation that she wanted to spend time with wild horses, and so was decidedly giddy to hear that the very horse used as a model for the animators of the 2002 DreamWorks film lived in Lompoc at the Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary.

Hanlon visited Spirit with her parents, Jamie and Crystal, feeding the Kiger Mustang apples, carrots, and grass and petting his mane. Later, she went whale watching and took a trip to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. A number of area businesses helped with discounts and donations.

The biggest obstacle to granting wishes is the cost of airline tickets, said a Make-A-Wish spokesperson. To donate frequent flyer miles to the tri-counties chapter, go here or call 676-9474.

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