Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Glenna, Jacob's grandmother, releasing balloons in his honor

If you saw blue balloons frolicking in the sky over your neighborhood on Saturday, May 21, there’s a chance you got a glimpse of Jacob’s birthday celebration. Saturday was Jacob’s seventh birthday, and his parents and grandparents celebrated by sending balloons to him in heaven from Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio.

We would have preferred a loud, noisy, messy party with all six grandchildren, icing smudges, melting pools of ice cream and torn wrapping paper and ribbons on the floor. There would be action figures, cars, games – maybe even a new bike that Jacob would learn to ride with his father's help.

That was not to be.

But earlier in Jacob’s life, when he was two, he received gifts that enhanced his life and the natural joy he brought to living.

Through hippotherapy at McKenna Farms, Jacob learned balance and developed muscle tone that would allow him to ride a bike. He learned to tell his mother what color car was alongside them as they drove. He learned to count. And he learned to express verbally all that he felt inside, a magnificent gift that allowed him to interact with others and let them get to know his gentleness, caring, and his giggly sense of humor.

The Red Thread's program, Jacob's Fund, is named in honor of Jacob Beachy. The fund provides hippotherapy scholarships to children with disabilities. We know we can’t give Jacob presents on his birthday. But we can give gifts to children like Jacob, who need therapy to unlock the beautiful child inside them and free them to be all they can be.

There are about 70 children with disabilities waiting for hippotherapy at McKenna Farms now. To provide for them, McKenna farms needs more space and more therapists. Your gift opens the gate and allows those kids to get in the saddle to begin their journey.

Somewhere there’s a family waiting to hear that first word, watch their child take that first step, or even to hear the words Jacob proudly spoke to me, “Look, Grandma, I run.”

And he did. Happy Birthday, Jacob!

Jacob enjoying his first piece of birthday cake in 2004

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