Willberry the Wonder Pony will be able to support other people with serious illnesses as well as his owner, it has been announced this week.
Hannah Francis was diagnosed with bone cancer in May last year and has been receiving chemotherapy.
Since then, the 18-year-old has been writing a blog of her experiences from the point of view of her cuddly toy, Willberry, and raising funds for various charities.
On Monday (2 May) Hannah announced that Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony has been approved as a registered charity.
All funds raised will go towards bone cancer research and granting horsey wishes to those with serious illnesses, from meeting a horse for the first time to meeting your equestrian hero or visiting Badminton Horse Trials.
“I am so proud to announce that finally Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony is an official charity,” said Hannah.
“[Funds] will go towards funding bone cancer research as there is so little funding and progress in this field, something which has become very clear in the last 12 months as I’ve been faced with the same chemotherapy drugs as a friend of mine who battled the same disease 20 years ago.
“’Willberrys Wishes’ allows seriously ill people like me, but not just with cancer, to have their dream of some kind of horsey experience granted by Willberry just as he’s granted so many of mine.”
To date, Hannah has raised £110,000 through fundraising events and Wilberry merchandise.
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“Thanks to all the people so desperate to make little old me and Willberry happy I’ve met my absolute idols and heroes,” said Hannah.
“I’ve ridden horses who’s talent is out of this world and genuinely tried their hardest to look after me as if they knew just how weak and fragile I now am. I’ve had so many wonderful adventures, small and large, with my wonder pony, my family and my friends that lots of people must only be able to dream of.
“I’m so excited to see where we could be a year on from now,” added Hannah. “That’s my next goal. I’m so determined to get there because ‘miss independent’ (that’s me by the way) would like to see for herself. Not from the angels!”