Two years ago, Yosiguey “Yosi” Trejo was told she had an aggressive form of leukemia. After several forms of treatment and a successful bone marrow transplant, Make-A-Wish gave Yosi a new best friend, a barrel racing horse named Shewee.
The young teenager was only 12-years-old when she discovered she was sick and said it was a shock. Being healthy and active, involved in cheerleading and sports at her school in Denver City, Yosi didn’t think she could have cancer. On Nov. 9, 2018, Yosi was officially diagnosed, but it was caught in the early stages.
“I never thought I was going to have cancer, I mean, nobody thinks that,” said Yosi. “…Its pretty hard, especially for a 12-year-old. …I thank God that I was on stage one.”
Fourteen-year-old Yosi had several separate treatments. The hardest part was also her final treatment, which took her away from family and friends while she was treated in Dallas. A bone marrow transplant was given to help ensure the cancer would not return and kept Yosi in the hospital for a few months. The process was difficult because she was losing her hair, in pain, and couldn’t eat for two weeks, according to Yosi.
“I did go through a lot of pain when they gave me my transplant,” said Yosi. She added her immune system had to be lowered to zero through radiation and chemo before she received the transplant. “I stayed at the hospital for three months, at least.”
The bone marrow transplant was successful and that means the cancer is gone, Yosi said. However, it will take one to three years before it is confirmed her leukemia will not come back.
Yosi chose to always stay positive while fighting her cancer. God was how she made it through the hard times.
“I just had my faith in God. I prayed a lot,” Yosi said. “I was just so positive. I always had a smile on my face every day.”
During her treatment, Yosi’s doctors contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to bring kids diagnosed with critical illnesses a wish to help during the tough time of treatment.
“Our hope is we’re giving them hope to get through this time of there life,” said Danielle Sims, Yosi’s wish granter with Make-A-Wish. “Our goal is not to give a last wish but to give a wish to give hope. Something to look forward to during treatments and stuff like that.”
At first, Yosi didn’t want anything — her wish was to be cancer-free. It was her mother who began suggesting things she could ask for. That got Yosi thinking about Fallon Taylor, a world champion barrel racer. Yosi would watch Taylor on You-tube and dream of being a barrel racer like Taylor.
“She inspired me because I would look at her and I’m like, I want to do that,” said Yosi. “I want to go as fast as her. I just thought it was very cool and I wanted to try it.”
But Taylor was not the only reason Yosi chose a barrel horse for her wish. She grew up around horses and her family has always been horse people.
“I’ve been riding horses ever since I was little,” said Yosi. “My dad, he used to rope and so did my older brother. Ever since I was little I have been in love with horses.”
Everyone who helped make her wish come true praised her attitude for being sweet and always smiling through everything she has gone through.
“She has kept the best spirit through it all (treatment),” said Sims. “She is just a fantastic girl.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation assigns a wish granter to interview the child so they can find their “true wish.” Sims is the wish granter for the area and also a teacher in Seminole, Texas. After interviewing Yosi and knowing her wish, Sims searched for a horse trainer to help purchase the barrel horse that would be perfect for Yosi.
Jessica Frost, owner of Rockin J Performance Horses out of Ropesville, Texas, is the trainer who went on the two-month-long search to find Shewee, a tall, dark brown, 9-year-old quarter horse.
“He’s already trained to do barrels,” said Frost. “He is kinda on the lazy side, so he was the perfect speed for her. She wanted a boy horse and also a horse that was really, really tall because she is pretty tall. So, we found her one of the tallest boy horses at barrel race.”
Yosi got to ride Shewee when she received him at Seminole’s Rodeo the weekend of Sept. 18. Not only was Yosi given Shewee, but he came with a donated saddle, shoes for the horse, a bridle, and everything else needed, according to Frost.
“She was shocked and super excited,” Frost said. “You don’t get to see kid’s dreams and wishes come true very often, especially with circumstances she’s been given.”
Yosi had to try out a couple of horses to find the right fit for her. She said it is scary getting on horses that she didn’t know, but Shewee was sweet, calm, and everything Yosi wanted.
“He’s just really cool to ride,” said Yosi. “He is a really cool partner. He’s like my best friend. …When I got on him, I was confident. I was not scared and I was like, this is the horse for me.”
Butch Williams, president of Rodeo Club in Seminole has worked with Make-A-Wish in the area for six years. He said Yosi is the first wish he has helped within the last two years. He looks forward to Yosi’s recovery so she can live her dream.
“We’re hoping next year we can see her barrel race,” Williams said. “… We just try to make them a queen for a day and just try to make them happy. We crowned her a princess and gave her a tiara, belt buckle, flowers, shash. She was a queen for Friday night rodeo.”
Yosi is now back at school in Denver City and has learned through her experience to always be strong through tough times.
“I learned to always be positive,” Yosi said. “I also learned dreams do come true. I learned never stop fighting for what you want and to be strong no matter what. I would like to say for all those kids that are fighting through whatever sickness, I would like to tell them dreams do come true, and no matter what always have a smile on your face.”
Christina Rankin may be reached at .