Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Sad Day for The Red Thread Promise

We received word that Ping died in his sleep. The Red Thread Promise would like to thank those that donated the funds needed for his recent surgery. Through your generosity, doctors tried to repair his heart. As you know, they couldn't complete all procedures, as they had hoped. Thank you for helping us provide for Ping's medical needs.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Look at That Smile!

We received this photo of Hua, the premature baby that had been abandoned last January. We were happy to be able to provide for his medical needs. What an incredible smile! Check the blog archives for Hua, and you'll see what he looked like earlier in this year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More About Preston

Preston receives physical therapy and is progressing from using a walker, to using crutches as his primary means of walking.
This will afford him greater ease in negotiating everyday obstacles. A walker is very stable for him but the therapy provides him a means to develop his own balance. We look forward to hearing that he's moving around his classroom with crutches!

Jacob's Fund/TRTP is helping to meet some of the cost of his therapy at McKenna Farms.

Interesting Research About Hippotherapy

Perhaps the best evidence hippotherapy works was reported by Dr. Daniel Bluestone, then a pediatric neurologist at UC San Francisco, who had been following the progress of children receiving hippotherapy treatment. Comparing MRI scans over time, Bluestone found that the repetitive movement of riding prompts physical changes in the brain.

"We think that hippotherapy is effective in helping re-work networks within the cerebellum and within the motor system up in the cerebrum," he said in a Discovery Channel documentary. "The pathways within the brain that facilitate a particular movement become reinforced over time. The more pathways you reinforce, the better the brain compensates and the better motor function can improve."

Bluestone, who now practices in Fresno, said children do especially well in hippotherapy because the child's brain is constantly developing and changing. The "sensory input" children receive during therapy allows them to re-model their neural networks. The Red Thread Promise has been very happy to have the opportunity to support Preston and Cole with hippotherapy!

Hippotherapy Has Helped People Challenged With...

Autism Spectrum Disorders
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Vascular Accident (stroke)
Developmental Delay
Down Syndrome
Functional Spinal Curvature (scoliosis)
Learning or Language Disabilities
Multiple Sclerosis
Sensory Processing Disorders
Traumatic Brain Injury

Hippotherapy Helps These Skills...

Gross Motor Skills
Speech and Language Abilities
Oral Motor Skills
Respiration and Postural/core Control
Fine Motor Skills
Sensory Processing
Behavioral and Cognitive Abilities

Meet Cole

Cole is a very sweet, bright and affectionate little boy, and will soon celebrate his 4th birthday. He was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, PDD, a form of autism and apraxia of speech. Although Cole’s comprehension is within normal limits, he has tremendous difficulty with expressive language. This causes him to become frustrated and withdrawn. Cole loves to ride horses, play games on the swing, and read books. Jacob's Fund/TRTP has been very happy to be able to contribute toward his barn fees for hippotherapy.


Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech therapy treatment strategy that uses the natural movements of horses. Therapists use the horses' movements to provide sensory input. The horse handler is given specific directions regarding the gait, tempo, cadence, and direction for the horse to move. Hippotherapy comes from the Greek root hippo-, for horse and the word therapy , thus meaning therapy with the help of a horse. The horse's pelvis has the same three dimensional movement of the human's pelvis, at the walk. The horse's three dimensional movement is carefully graded at the walk in each treatment for the patient. This three dimensional movement provides physical and sensory input, which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive

Hippotherapy can only be provided by a licensed Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist or Speech and Language Pathologist. Adults and children with disabilities can improve their posture, muscle tone, coordination, balance,sensory/motor development as well as speech and language skills when hippotherapy is incorporated into a therapy plan.

Jacob's Fund

Jacob's family wanted to honor him by teaming with The Red Thread Promise, to provide for the needs of other children. Jacob had benefitted from Hippotherapy, and Jacob's Fund has helped with the cost of Hippotherapy, for two additional children; Cole and Preston.

Jacob's Story: Told by His Grandmother, Glenna

“We’re having a boy!” Our daughter, Sarah, had written an e-mail, but we could hear her thrilled voice as if she were with us.

She and her husband, Josh, had a little girl. Elyse was four, sweet, playful, and the baby of the family. She had two cousins, our older daughter’s son, Evan, and his sister, Brookie.

Bernie and I had looked forward to having a big happy family, and when Sarah became pregnant the second time, it looked as if we were about to have the perfect family.

Our new grandson was due May 21, 2004. At the end of March we visited a friend in Florida. I kept in touch with both our daughters whenever we traveled. I called Sarah, reached her voicemail, and left a message. We didn’t hear from her that week.

When we returned we learned why. Sarah called and told me she had her sister, Mary, on the line. She had something to tell us and she could only bear to say what she had to say once.

She’d gone for a checkup the week before; during the exam the doctor discovered something unusual about her baby boy’s heartbeat. She’d gone to a specialist immediately and learned that the baby’s heart was malformed.

“But they are sure they can correct it,” she told us. “As soon as he’s born they’ll do surgery.”

When he was born, Sarah held Jacob for a few minutes before he was whisked away to another hospital. We stood in the hallway outside the delivery room. As the little cart with life support attachments that held our baby boy passed us, it stopped and we were allowed a glimpse.

“He’s a good-looking guy, isn’t he?” Bernie said. What he was really saying was much more than that.

Jacob Noah Beachy spent most of the first month of his life in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit. The surgery wasn’t done immediately; doctors wanted his heart to grow some first.

When Jacob came home he was receiving nourishment through a tube. Though they didn’t say why, the medical staff had urged Sarah to begin feeding him with a bottle even though he wouldn’t be able to take much. She’d planned to nurse him, but his intake needed to be measured. Only much later did she learn about babies who failed to learn to eat and thus languished when the feeding tube was removed.

Sarah fed Jacob with the bottle, held him, loved him, and handled him with care, as did Josh. Elyse, on the other hand, tickled, played, wrestled and talked to him like the little brother he was. She was never rough with him but treated him as the playmate she’d been waiting for.

His biggest smiles were for her. They were best friends. She looked out for him. And he adored her.

Jacob’s first open-heart surgery came early in 2005. We had no illusions; the risk was enormous for our tiny boy. We held our breath until we knew he was all right.

In spring 2006 Jacob underwent another surgery. We prayed, and through the requests of family and friends, churches across the country kept him constantly in their prayers.

The second surgery was successful; two down and one to go.

Jacob was two then. He began hippotherapy that same spring. Hippotherapy is speech, physical and occupational therapy delivered while a child is riding a horse. It’s a therapy that cannot be reproduced in any other setting. Anyone who’s had a child in pediatric therapy knows that it’s hard work. But the movement of the horse helps children with balance and motor skills.

Two common threads run through parents’ stories about their child’s hippotherapy sessions: they can hardly get the child off the horse at the end of the session, and their child’s speech skills improve dramatically. The kids don’t say much while riding, but after the session, it’s like opening a floodgate. That certainly was the case with Jacob. He’d hold lengthy conversations (for a three-year-old), talking about riding his horse, Major.

My heart soared and swelled to near bursting when I saw him walk for the first time. Once when I came to visit he greeted me at the door with, “Look, Grandma – I run.” And he ran to the kitchen.

His vocabulary grew quickly to include quesadilla and pedometer. And he told me the names of everyone in the family: Sissy Noah Beachy, Mommy Noah Beachy, Daddy Noah Beachy.

Jacob was love itself – he brought joy and laughter into any room he entered.

In June, 2007, Jacob went into the hospital for the procedure that would make the final repair to his heart. The surgery went well and Jacob was recovering on schedule. After a few days doctors removed a drainage tube from his chest. They discovered a small herniated area and decided to perform surgery to correct it.

During that surgery Jacob contracted MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant staph infection. The next six weeks can only be described as a living hell.

Jacob died on July 21, 2007. He was exactly 38 months old.

CHINA :: Ping Continues to Struggle

We've heard from Ping's CWI, and he is very sick. He does not have a thymus, and has a reduced immune system. He struggles to fight off infections. He's currently in the hospital and doctors are doing everything they can. They've said it is possible Ping won't survive. Ping's breathing is very labored, and it sounds like he has fluid in his lungs.