I felt quite a bit of culture shock when I moved to the city after college. I was raised in a small town, surrounded by horses, where we drove our tractors to school twice a year. Needless to say, Royal Oak, MI wasn’t exactly a place I thought would offer me horses or any semblance of the life I had growing up. I had come to terms with what it meant to “fit in” in the city, still, my friends know me as a country girl who truly loves to wear flannel and cowboy boots!
I was introduced to Camp Casey by friend of mine who had heard about a “Cowbell Pub Crawl” happening in Ferndale. I was the first person she thought of – such a perfect event for me! Little did she know, it was benefitting an amazing organization. Immediately after the event, I signed up to volunteer. Once I experienced my first House Call, I knew I had to be more involved!
Cancer has unfortunately impacted my life more times than I had ever imagined in such a short time. After losing my mother to an 8-year battle when I was only 14 years old, I figured that would be it for me. That’s how it works, right? I paid my dues and cancer wouldn’t come around me again. I was terrified to learn that was not the case and my life had a different plan; I lost two friends from college, a young boy I used to babysit, and an old boyfriend who had remained a dear friend of mine throughout the years. He didn’t make it to 30th birthday; none of them did. Each loss hit me with a fresh sting of sadness – a hurt only cancer can cause.
One thing I learned all too well when another loved one was struck by cancer is that every moment – no matter how big or small – every single moment is one to cherish. Working as an Equine Therapist for Camp Casey has allowed me to deliver these moments to countless children over my time with the organization. Seeing a child’s face light up when their door opens to a HORSE on the front porch is a moment that I can’t begin to describe here! The family relaxes, the kid forgets for just a little while, and the siblings, friends and family of that child get to create memories that will last forever.
Camp Casey has given me a chance to do something about cancer. I can’t heal anyone – it pains me that I don’t have the cure – but I do have this opportunity to put my love for helping and giving back to good use. Getting to be around a horse, an animal that I love so much, is just an added bonus!
I look forward to many more years of horsing around with Camp Casey. Yeehaw!