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15-year-old girl from Chesterland diagnosed with cancer receives horse through Make-A-Wish

Paulina Franchini Make a Wish
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 10:38:20-04

CHESTERLAND, Ohio — At Schneider Saddlery in Chagrin Falls you'll find plenty of saddles and stirrups. However, mixed-in among the countless supplies on hand Friday, a special collection of personalized gear for a 15-year-old from Chesterland.

"She's a little saint. She's a little saint," said Mary Franchini.

When Franchini’s daughter, Paulina, was 13 she was gifted a pony. Now, the bond between the two is unbreakable.

Penny the pony eventually became ill with what the family believes is cancer.

Just a few years later, Paulina found herself facing the same diagnosis.

"They said it's malignant and I thought my ears are not hearing right. It was very shocking. Very unexpected," said Franchini.

While enduring treatments, the teen would dream of having a horse of her own.

Make a Wish .jpg

"Never thought it'd happen to me," said Paulina Franchini.

With the help of Make-A-Wish, Paulina is now the proud owner of 4-year-old Galaxy.

"Not a lot of kids get to say that their dream came true and I'm blessed to be one of them," said Paulina.

Schneider Saddlery donated $5,000 in equipment and food to give Paulina a strong start.

And it was this teen's strength -- tackling cancer -- that inspired the team here to be a part of Paulina's story.

"She is just such a strong and resilient young woman," said Gwen Holbrook of Schneider Saddlery.

As the two prepare to ride off together into the future, Paulina has big plans.

She wants to compete in horse shows, where Galaxy will be known as "Make-A-Wish"—a tribute to the organization that made this all possible.

"They've been so generous. So, so generous, so kind, thoughtful, understanding and I just want to say with all my heart, thank you so much," said Franchini.

The arrival of Paulina's new friend comes on the heels of promising news.

After months of treatment, recent scans show it worked. The ninth grader is all clear.

"Pray for us as a family that we go in the right direction," said Franchini.


News 5 is teaming back up with Make-a-Wish and the Home Builders Association for a second “A Home for the Holidays” raffle, offering viewers a chance to win a $599,000 house in North Royalton and other prizes. Tickets are now available.


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