Dear Friends of PALS,
Let me introduce you to my daughter, Kaylee. She is a caring and intelligent 22-year-old, who is typical in so many ways. She enjoys, fashion, shopping, boy bands, crafting and has an honest love for animals. What is not so typical about my daughter is that she has cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination. Kaylee gets frustrated from time-to-time because she doesn’t see that she has a problem. She gets discouraged when her hands don’t work the way she wants them to, and walking has been a big challenge in her life. Speech has also been a hurdle, which has affected her socially. As her mother, I want the best for Kaylee, and the program at PALS is improving her quality of life in so many ways.
Among the horses, staff, and volunteers, Kaylee finds happiness. The moment Kaylee came home from her first horsemanship session, we knew PALS was the perfect fit. She was glowing as she enthusiastically told me everything that happened, what she learned, and who she worked with. As shared by her instructor, Lizzie, Kaylee has developed the confidence to groom her horse from her chair, and stand out of her chair to reach their backs. She now leads her horses independently, and also has the strength to tack and untack horses on her own. Not only does the program bring Kaylee happiness, but it has improved a number of her skills. Her strength & balance have improved, her speech has developed greatly, and everyone has noticed her increased confidence in walking.
Kaylee used to have panic attacks about her ability to walk because she was afraid of falling. Since participating at PALS, the attacks have stopped. She’s not so fearful. At home, Kaylee’s caretaker, Anna, has also noticed remarkable changes in her daily life. Kaylee’s more confident when she gets out of her chair and more independent because her muscles are stronger. For example, now she can get out of her chair and reach into the microwave. Steps like this make a big difference, especially while Kaylee makes her own animal treats from scratch which she branded Paw Lickin’ Treats! She researches recipes, prepares all the ingredients, bags them up, decorates them with ribbons, and brings them to the PALS therapy horses
Though daily life presents what many of us would see as insurmountable challenges, Kaylee is a happy person who meets those challenges. Her disability doesn’t define her or keep her from becoming known as “The Horse Whisperer” at the PALS barn. This year was momentous for our family. At the Fun Show, Kaylee was named the “Client of the Year.” In this moment, I, of course, cried, because I was overwhelmed by how excited and proud she was. I witnessed my daughter living out her dream. We were all very emotional. Our experiences with this organization have been amazing all around.
For Kaylee and our family, the horsemanship program has brought great joy. It is so satisfying as a parent to see that my daughter is reaching her goals and living her dream. I ask that you please consider giving to PALS this holiday season, so that people like my daughter, Kaylee, can continue to afford their programs. Thank you for reading our story and for your support of this wonderful place.
Daniele & The Clark Family