LOMPOC, California – She was just 4-years-old when her life and that of her family would turn upside down. Mycah Nichols would be diagnosed with Leukemia.
A little girl with the face of an angel would be in for the fight of her life … and the battle would rage on for three years.
But, Mycah had a wish, as all little girls do. She was in love with the Dreamworks movie “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” and she wanted to meet “Spirit.” The only problem was … Spirit was an animated horse, or so the family thought.
“She had been through so much .. she was just beginning to feel like herself … we end up googling “Spirit” and doing some research and up comes Return to Freedom and DreamWorks has donated the model for the movie to the non-profit … and we thought are you kidding me?” recalled Mycah’s mom.
From there Angie Nichols said Make-A-Wish took over, contacting Neda DeMayo, President and Founder of Return to Freedom, who just happens to be Spirit’s guardian. And Neda said … bring her.
So, after months of chemotherapy, now 5-year-old Mycah would travel from Houston, Texas to Lompoc, California to meet the horse of her dreams.
Spirit is a Kiger Mustang Stallion and at the age of 13 was unruly and hard to handle … as stallions tend to be, and Mycah’s mom remembers the apprehension of the handlers of Spirit when they first arrived, “Neda would put herself between Mycah and the horse, and just watch everyone being on edge … how close is she going to get to the horse?”
As the day went on no one really could have predicted the outcome. This young, wild mustang and a little girl searching for something to believe in undeniably … connected.
“The reality set in … Myach and Spirit forehead-to-forehead overwhelmed those who knew Spirit best, “I look over and some of his handlers were just crying because they’re like he’s normally very wild and is very much like the character in the movie. And, it was just amazing to see the effect they had on each other,” remembered Mycah’s mom.
Her mom believes the meeting gave Mycah the strength to endure three more years of treatment.
Ten years later … Mycah has returned … to see an old friend. Mycah just turned 15 and Spirit celebrated his 23rd birthday this month. On his birthday Spirit became just the second wild horse to be inducted into the Equus Horse Stars Hall of Fame.
“Her ultimate goal every day is to be back here with Spirit. She would gladly come every single day, she loves him,” said Mycah’s mom.
The Make-A-Wish trip a decade ago changed the course of Mycah’s life forever. She now wants to advocate for wild horses, and Andrea Wogsland with Return to Freedom says her story couldn’t be told at a more important time, “Right now Congress is debating the fate of wild and domestic horses .. we need people to call your senators, let them know we oppose any amendment that encourages horse slaughter or the transport of wild horses over our borders.”
Spirit now serves as an ambassador to wild horses to show they still have a place in this world on land being taken from under them and a frightening pace. And now a little girl Spirit gave the courage to overcome cancer will serve as his voice and the voice of other wild horses just like him.
Because this ending is really … just another beginning.