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Macy’s starts holidays with fireworks and a dream come true

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 10, 2015

 After having her wish to be a horse trainer granted by Make-A-Wish Michigan, Sibert  writes a letter to Santa Claus at the Oakland Mall Macy’s.

After having her wish to be a horse trainer granted by Make-A-Wish Michigan, Sibert writes a letter to Santa Claus at the Oakland Mall Macy’s.

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Mary Sibert, 12, of Sturgis, is crazy about horses.

She keeps her own horse at her grandparents’ home, where she is home-schooled. This past spring, she spent six days in the bluegrass area of Kentucky, including a day at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, where national and international competitions take place. She met famous riders, trainers and horses; saw Grand Prix training, the highest competition level of horse jumping; and saw behind the scenes at Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby takes place.

“My aunt got me inspired for horses,” Sibert said.

Sibert has mucolipidosis, a terminal degenerative metabolic disease, and she made a wish to be a horse trainer.

So Make-A-Wish Michigan made it happen.

When Sibert was a baby, her parents noticed that she couldn’t lift her arms all the way above her head. Doctors put a brace on her foot when she was 1 to prevent it from turning out. At 4 years old, she couldn’t stand up straight.

Her parents took her to the Mayo Clinic, where she was diagnosed. Doctors said the disease was terminal and she would eventually need a wheelchair. She’s undergone dozens of procedures, including injections to loosen her muscles and a hip reposition.

Mary Sibert’s mother, Elizabeth Sibert, said that some people with her daughter’s condition live into their early 30s.

“No kid is the same. We never know when it’s coming. We’re thankful for every moment we have. She’s doing well right now,” Elizabeth Sibert said.

According to its website, Make-A-Wish Michigan “grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since 1984, the organization has granted more than 8,000 wishes to Michigan children.”

On Nov. 6, Macy’s at Oakland Mall welcomed the holiday season with fireworks, and Mary Sibert and her family were a part of it.

“Macy’s invited us to take part in the parade,” said Elizabeth Sibert. “She’s always been crazy for horses.”

Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Mary Sibert and her grandfather, David Stanton, arrived by horse-driven sleigh after the sky above the store lit up with fireworks, which hundreds came to watch.

Mary Sibert got to spend time with the horses before they arrived at Macy’s.

Christy Hammond, of Make-A-Wish Michigan, explained that the organization arranged the Kentucky trip as the main part of Mary Sibert’s wish to be a horse trainer.

“The ride with Santa and his team of horses was a wish enhancement. Our goal is to create lasting memories, and in some cases lasting legacies,” Hammond said. She said that wishes typically fall into four categories: I wish to have, I wish to go, I wish to meet, or I wish to be.

“When they wish to be, we can be a little creative,” Hammond said.

Macy’s Believe campaign has returned for its eighth year to celebrate the season and benefit Make-A-Wish. Through Dec. 24, believers in Santa of all ages may bring stamped letters to their local Macy’s. For every letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 for up to $1 million to help Make-A-Wish grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Since 2008, the Macy’s Believe campaign has raised more than $10 million for Make-A-Wish.

Hammond said Make-A-Wish is 100 percent funded by community support. The average value of a Michigan wish is $10,000.

For more information on Make-A-Wish, check online at michigan.wish.org or call (800) 622-9474.

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