Saturday, February 23, 2019

Focus on Johnathon

Johnathon, a true winner, wearing his medal, with his therapeutic riding instructor, Bryan

There are a lot of things about Johnathon that make him a winner, says Bryan, his therapeutic riding instructor:
·         Exceptional listening skills
·         Eagerness to excel
·         Willingness and desire to learn new things
·         Having a sweet and kind disposition
·         Being motivated by his own perception of success
·         His positive outlook
·         Character

When we learned that Johnathon had won the medal for Focus at McKenna Farms Annual End of Year Horseshow at McKenna Farms in February, we wanted to know more about this amazing young man.

Johnathon is fourteen; he’s been diagnosed with autism. He stopped talking at three and a half years old. The next few years were up and down for him. A team of very helpful clinicians and teachers worked with him for two years. Then, his teacher left. Johnathon slipped back; once again he no longer talked.

But in May, his mother, determined to find a new program for him, discovered McKenna Farms. After his first visit, he came home excited and eager to tell his dad multiple details about his experience at the farm. Since then, he’s begun to thrive, and once he discovered the horses, Johnathon’s been on an upward trajectory. He loves his horse, Coal, and Coal stimulates him to do excel.

Johnathon in the ring

Jacob’s Fund is thrilled with Johnathon’s accomplishments and we are grateful to be a part of his growth as he works hard to reach his full potential.

“He is a unique young man with unlimited potential. His focus and drive earned him the Focus award,” said Bryan, his therapeutic riding instructor.

We’re cheering Johnathon on and we hope you do, too.

If you’d like to help this kind and capable teenager further along the road to a bright future, please consider donating to Jacob’s Fund. Our address is:

Jacob’s Fund
1630 Tipperary Drive
Middletown, Ohio, 45042-3875

If you’d like to learn more about Jacob’s Fund, or would like to volunteer at one of the facilities we partner with, please contact us at 513-423-0108.

We’re grateful that you want to help Johnathon and our other Jacob’s Fund’s Kids live the fullest possible lives. Thank you.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Show Your Colors!

I’m wearing a long red fleece jacket on this cold day. If you haven’t donned your red duds yet, take time to do that when you’ve read this post because today is WEAR RED DAY!


February is Heart Month. Many of you know the story of our Jacob, in whose memory Jacob’s Fund exists. Jacob was born with multiple heart defects and underwent several open heart and other surgeries. It was after his last surgery that he contracted MRSA in the hospital and died six weeks later.

What you may not know is that severe heart defects can result in developmental delays and impairments. When Jacob began hippotherapy at McKenna Farms in 2006 at age two, he hadn’t yet begun walking. Once he began hippotherapy (therapy using the horse as a tool), he walked, and ran, and his speech and vocabulary expanded immensely. I’ll never forget when he asked, after seeing me wear one, “Grandma, can I have a pedometer?” Uh, yes! I clipped it to his diaper.

Since we founded Jacob’s Fund, we’ve been able to help kids with all kinds of impairments through hippotherapy and therapeutic riding. Some of these delightful children have heart defects.

Among them is Jonah, who has some of the same heart defects that Jacob had. Part of his heart is missing on the left side. Jonah has a mass of gorgeous blond hair, big eyes and a mischievous grin that tells you right away that this boy has a great sense of humor. We met him before he was old enough for preschool, but now he’s in school and doing well. Jonah’s family makes every effort to help him and seek out the necessary services that he needs. Life with multiple heart defects means many hospital and doctor visits all along the way.

As I think about our wonderful Jacob, several other children we’ve learned about come to mind: Timothy, Luka, Charlie. All of them are dealing with multiple heart defects. They, like us, fervently hope and pray for help and healing for their children.

While we can’t magically make that happen, we can do something. Contribute to the American Heart Association. Donate to Jacob’s Fund.

And WEAR RED today! Now’s the time to show your colors.