Monday, July 12, 2010

Remembering Jacob

Jacob Beachy (May 21, 2004 - July 21, 2007)

Sarah, Jacob's mommy, and Jacob

Jacob loved coming to McKenna Farms. With shining eyes, he would tell anyone who would listen, “I ride Major!” Major was his horse at the Farm.

Children who are born with disabilities face many years of therapy, often three times a week from infancy until early adolescence. Typical clinical settings can be frightening to children who see round after round of doctors throughout each year, a constant reminder of all the poking and prodding that goes on at each visit. The routine of therapy can quickly become stale as children repeat exercises using inanimate objects. Therapy is work for these children, hard work that requires making muscles and nerves do things that their little bodies haven’t found a way to do on their own.

But McKenna Farms is just “the farm” to these kids and their families. Therapy play rooms are in the house where children are encouraged to get busy right away. Outside, siblings of those receiving therapy play on a playground while parents watch from the porch or the yard. Here is a home-like setting where disabled children feel comfortable and are cared for.

Jacob loved his therapists and wanted to go see them. He adored Major and, though it was an hour’s drive to McKenna Farms, he was eager and excited, anticipating each visit.

Glenna remembers

I sometimes took Jacob to the farm for his hippotherapy sessions. One day we’d gone into the barn to greet Major. Horses surrounded us in the neighboring stalls.

One of the staff led Major to where Jacob and I stood. The huge horse towered over Jacob, who weighed less than thirty pounds at the time. However, Jacob's relationship to the horse became clear as he reached to pat Major. The horse stood still, nuzzling my little grandson. Truly Jacob had formed a bond with his therapy partner.

Jacob and big sister, Elyse

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