By Sarah Chacko
Killeen Daily Herald
SALADO Nothing could have weakened Landon Wightmans excitement as one of his biggest dreams came to life Tuesday afternoon.
Nothing could have damaged the 17-year-olds spirit.
Not even chemotherapy.
A trip to the hospital in January for an injury Wightman received after being bucked off a horse revealed non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Wightmans leg and stomach.
Soon after, when the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas asked Wightman, who lives in Ivanhoe, what his wish would be, he was very clear: a six-horse trailer with a dressing room and hayrack.
I want to be able to take all my ponies to the shows, Wightman told the foundation. I would like my brothers and sister to go with me trail riding and camping.
Wightman was exuberant when the 32-foot horse trailer he had dreamed about for years was pulled around in front of Bloomer Trailer Manufacturing in Salado and presented to him.
Wightman, who has been competing for about five years, shows Welsh ponies at halter and in driving classes. He also owns paint, Belgian and quarter horses about 15 horses total.
His mother, Leslie Wightman, said he had been plotting and planning his dream trailer for years.
His drawing just came to life, Leslie Wightman said, as her son checked out his new gift.
Leslie Wightman said Landon always had to leave some horses behind when he went to shows or family members had to miss out on trail rides.
Nobodys left behind now, she said.
Make-A-Wish teamed with Bloomer Trailers to make Wightmans dream come true the first wish the foundation has granted involving a horse trailer.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas grants wishes for children ages 2 to 18 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.
More than 2,400 children have been granted a wish by the foundation since its inception in 1982.
Randy Bloomer, president of Bloomer Trailers, worked directly with Wightman to design and build the custom trailer.
Wightman submitted drawings of his trailer, and Bloomer, a high-end, custom horsetrailer manufacturer on Salados south side, made sure all the specifics were followed down to the wavy black and red custom stripe and the family coat of arms painted on the body of the white trailer.
Ive been dreaming of this trailer for years, Wightman said. Its everything I thought it would be ... and more.
Wightman travels to Dallas once a week for chemotherapy, which he will continue until February.
Though he is now in remission, Wightman will continue scans after the treatments end for the rest of his life.
Wightman, who started riding again in March, is breaking into barrel racing and plans to take his new trailer to an event on Jan. 2 in Athens.
To keep the trailer presentation a surprise, Wightman was led to believe that he was just stopping by Bloomers with his parents and a brother to check on its production.
The rest of his family his youngest brother, sister and grandfather dropped in early to add to the surprise.
Bad weather kept the Wightmans from seeing the trailer before Christmas, as first planned.
Bloomer gave the trailer, valued at $38,000, to the foundation for $22,000.
They didnt ask for that, he said. Their job is to make it happen.
Bloomer said these days its important for devoted horsemen to have good equipment, the best of the best.
While Bloomer and his team took the project on as a nice gesture that they thought would really touch Wightman, it ended up giving them a lot in return.
I think all of us were more touched than he was, Bloomer said.
Contact Sarah Chacko at firstname.lastname@example.org