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Julio's Ranch Retreat

“ When I got on, we started galloping and I felt free. ”


- Julio, wish child

Julio, 15, from Melrose Park, is an imaginative boy who enjoys everything western.

Diagnosed with a life-threatening seizure disorder in March of 2006, Julio wished to visit a dude ranch.Although he seems to be initially shy, his social personality appears as people get to know him. His favorite things include acting, horses and horseback riding.

Make-A-Wish® Illinois arranged for Julio and his family to visit a Colorado dude ranch where Julio got to live out his dream. Julio often enjoys dressing as a cowboy and galloping around his neighborhood on his imaginary horse. His mom will take him by the stables of a nearby racetrack so he can see horses during the racing season. He has found strength and happiness in his cowboy persona for many years.

While in Colorado, Julio had the opportunity of filming his very own short Western scene. He was able to live out his full cowboy experiences while trap shooting and riding his steed in the Wild West. He even won the John Wayne Award for enacting his cowboy role to the fullest extent every day during his stay. Julio really enjoyed his experience.

The ranch took extra special care of Julio, providing him with two wranglers to ride with him at all times should he have a medical situation. Instead, Julio was seizure free the entire week of his wish.

"When I got on the horse, we just started galloping and I felt free," Julio said. “I cried when I had to leave,” he shares.

Julio has found courage through his wish and fondly recalls his time out west as he looks through the hundreds of photos and several videos from his trip. Plus, he has the real-life cowboy spurs given to him by the ranch staff hanging in his room, just one of his many treasured souvenirs collected during his trip.

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Make-A-Wish® Illinois
640 North LaSalle Drive
Suite 280
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 602-9474
Toll Free (800) 978-9474