Horsey House Calls provide fun for kids living with cancer

Child rides a horse during Horsey House Calls event
Child rides a horse during Horsey House Calls event

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOTV) A five-year-old Kentwood girl received a knock on the door and a horse on the doorstep. Madison Pagel, living with brain cancer, spent a magical day with a horse and her friends, thanks to the efforts of Camp Casey.

Camp Casey’s Horsey House Call program is a non-profit horseback riding organization for children with cancer and their families. Volunteers from the organization, along with a beautiful horse, drove from Detroit to surprise Pagel.

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“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 provided a day of respite for Pagel, her siblings, and up to ten friends. The non-profit 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.

If the community rallies behind Camp Casey, there’s no reason why we can’t bring this powerful program to West Michigan quickly.”

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 more than 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.

“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.

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