Riding a horse is a great way to get your mind off unpleasant things. And 8-year-old Gabriella has had a lot of unpleasant things happen to her in the last 10 months. While on vacation last year, her lymph nodes suddenly swelled up. A bunch of tests later, she was diagnosed. It was a blood cancer – leukemia.

Gabriella's Gift - Team Summer-25

The months that followed were “nightmarish,” according to Gabriella’s mom. The worst of it included chemo injected directly into Gabriella’s spinal column, steroids that caused diabetes which led to painful insulin injections into her stomach, and four-day hospital stays every two weeks for months. But sometimes it’s words that hurt the most. When Gabriella’s hair fell out, a kid from school asked her if she was a boy.

Gabriella's Gift - Team Summer-27

If any kid could use some cheering up, it was Gabriella; and 13-year-old Team Summer kid Kayla knew it. During treatments at the clinic, they had bonded over two things: cancer (yuck!) and horses.

Gabriella's Gift - Team Summer-10

Gabriella had tried riding before and Kayla wanted to get her back on a horse. (You might remember that Kayla was so obsessed with horses that her Team Summer gift was fancy bling tack!) Thanks to your generous donations, Kayla was able to surprise Gabriella with three things:

1. Very cool pink riding boots!

Gabriella's Gift - Team Summer-6

2. A snazzy pink riding helmet!

Gabriella's Gift - Team Summer-9

3. And horseback riding lessons for a year!!!!

Gabriella's Gift - Team Summer-23

But most of all, Kayla was able to give Gabriella something only another kid with cancer could – hope and faith that she would some day get through all the cancer treatments and have a normal life again. Kayla has been cancer free for 15 months!

Gabriella's Gift - Team Summer-20

And now it’s Gabriella’s turn to find a kid with cancer she can help – perhaps someone who is scared or lonely or having a rough time – someone she can give a Team Summer gift to! Who will it be?? Stay tuned!

Many thanks to Pam Doughty Photography for these wonderful pictures!

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