I’m raising money to bring a Camp Casey Horsey House Call to the home of a child with cancer. I’ve never used this blog to ask for direct help but I decided to share this organization with all of you because it’s that awesome. Read more to learn why I’m asking for a donation to Camp Casey, then follow the directions at the bottom to make a difference in the life of a child.
In the 15 years I’ve been blessed, fortunate, lucky to be a cancer survivor, I try to give back every year to an organization or people making a difference to those touched by cancer. I currently am a volunteer board member and equine therapist for Camp Casey, a Michigan-based nonprofit that provides horseback riding experiences to children with cancer, and sickle-cell and aplastic anemia.
Camp Casey offers three programs at no cost to participants. During a Horsey House Call, volunteers bring a horse to a child’s home for a surprise visit, rides and party. Cowboy Camp Outs enable families to enjoy a getaway to a Michigan dude ranch resort, and Outlaw Outings include various outings, such as baseball games, theater shows, or museum tours.
Because of my past horse experience, I trained to be an equine therapist for Camp Casey, which means I help coordinate the day-of activities for our Horsey House Calls. What happens on these visits? A lot of awesome! We bring a horse from our Hero Herd, a group of amazing, calm horses that are ‘interviewed’ and vetted out by the Camp Casey staff. These horses’ owners agree to let us bring their horse to surprise a child at their home. Imagine living in Detroit, Rochester, Royal Oak or any suburb or community and seeing a truck and horse trailer pull up in front of your neighbor’s house – you can guess the great reactions we receive!
The child doesn’t know we’re coming so we unload the horse while volunteers are setting up tables and equipment. Then we knock on the front door, making sure our horse is the first thing they see. Surprise and smiles! During the two-hour visit, the child and a limited number of siblings or friends (17 years or under) ride the horse along the sidewalk or wherever depending on the location. We enjoy pizza and drinks, make crafts and horse treats, take lots of pictures and have a lot of fun.
I love watching children’s expressions when they see a horse on their front lawn. I love watching the smiles on faces of children who were at first hesitant to ride a horse, then fall in love. I love interacting with the amazing volunteers who commit to these experiences. And of course I love being around the horses who never fail to bring laughter and smiles to these children.
One of my first Horsey House Calls was to the home of a 10-year old child with both leukemia. I led a horse to her front door so that when she opened it to see us waiting for her, she squealed in delight. The experience brought tears to my eyes several times – the magic that animals provide, the opportunity this experience provides to a child and family to forget about their disease for a short while, and witnessing the impact on volunteers. As a cancer survivor, I know how precious those “normal” moments are. For some participants, this is the last great experience they have….because cancer is a terrible, terrible disease. Which inspires me even more to help share the Camp Casey mission with everyone.
And selfishly, the experience brings me comfort as I remember why I love these beautiful animals and how much I miss riding and regularly being around them. Cancer took my ability to ride when I was diagnosed with bone cancer and had my femur/knee replaced with titanium. I lost much of my confidence with horses after so many years away and knowing I have this titanium rod in my leg that could be hurt with one fall. But the habits and knowledge came rushing back to me each Horsey House Call I attended. For a few hours I can feel normal and absorb the love and comfort these animals bring to me while sharing that love with children who could use a reason to smile.
Now I’m asking for your help in bringing a Horsey House Call to the home of a child with cancer – giving a child an opportunity to laugh, have fun and be ‘normal’ for a few hours.
My goal is to raise $1,000 to support one Horsey House Call. My husband and I are kicking in the first $100. ANY donation amount will help make a difference for this small nonprofit. Here’s how to donate:
- Visit Camp Casey’s website (www.camp-casey.org)
- Click “Donate Now” – you’ll be taken to Pay Pal’s website where you can enter your donation amount.
- At the top left, you’ll see “Donation in honor of” – click that and please write “Heather’s HHC” so Camp Casey can track our progress (I won’t know the amount you donated).
- You can also mail a check payable to “Camp Casey” to 333 W. Seventh, Suite 230, Royal Oak, MI 48067 (please include Heather’s HHC in the memo or with a note)
- Feel good because you’re going to make a sick child very happy!
Thank you for helping me share my love of horses with children who deserve a smile in their lives.