A horse on the doorstep surprises 5-year old girl living with Cancer

Camp Casey
Local 5-year old, Madison Pagel, escapes the realities of Cancer with a knock on the door and a horse on her doorstep. (Photo Courtesy: Jordan Carson)

Kentwood, Mich.- Children should not have to worry about Cancer. Unfortunately the “C” word is a reality for hundreds of local children. One non-profit is helping to bring a ray of sunshine to children living with Cancer, in metro Detroit and West Michigan. Camp Casey’s Horsey House Call program is a nonprofit horseback riding organization for children with cancer and their families. Volunteers from the organization, along with a beautiful horse, drove from Detroit to surprise a five-year-old girl with brain cancer. Madison Pagel never imagined that a knock on the door and a horse on her doorstep would be her reality for one day.

“The parents know we’re coming, but the kids have no idea,” said Katie Patterson, Camp Casey’s Program Director. “We never know what kind of reaction we’ll get when the door swings open—shock, surprise, confusion, delight—but it’s always a magical day for both the kids and parents.”

Equipped with a therapy horse, certified Equine Therapist, and trained volunteers, Camp Casey’s Horsey House Call will provide a day of respite to Pagel, her siblings and up to 10 friends. The nonprofit offers a horse lesson, horseback rides, pizza party, craft projects, games and more, all in the family’s yard, and at no cost to the participants.

Horsey House Calls is one of Camp Casey’s three cost-free programs that has spread the healing power of horses to Michigan families for over a decade. Until now, only two of Camp Casey’s three programs (Cowboy Camp Outs and Outlaw Outings) have been available to West Michigan families due to limited supplies, equipment and volunteers required for Horsey House Calls.

It’s our most unique and popular program, and it breaks our hearts that we can’t accommodate the numerous applicants we get for Horsey House Calls from patients at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital,” said Molly Reeser, Camp Casey’s Founder and Executive Director. “While we’ve been able to serve West Michigan families with our other programming, Horsey House Calls is sometimes the best option, especially for home-bound patients or those with an immediate need.”

“We’re proud to pioneer West Michigan by serving little Madison with a Horsey House Call, but we have a ways to go before we can meet our demand. We’re working to raise funds in order to purchase an additional truck, horse trailer, and necessary supplies.  We’ll also invest in a trained team that can safely execute Horsey House Calls weekly,” Reeser said. “If the community rallies behind Camp Casey, there’s no reason why we can’t bring this powerful program to West Michigan quickly.”

For more information about Camp Casey, how you can get involved or to nominate a family for one of Camp Casey’s free services, visit www.camp-casey.org.

About Camp Casey
Camp Casey, a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 2003, offers three unique programs to children with cancer and their families. Cowboy Camp Outs provide overnight mini-vacations at dude ranches in Michigan; Horsey House Calls surprise children at their doorstep with a horse for the day; Outlaw Outings provide family-oriented activities, like attending professional sports games, without the expense or hassle of planning. All of Camp Casey’s programs are free for families facing a pediatric cancer, sickle cell disease and/or aplastic anemia diagnosis.

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