Miller. Hard at Work


Miller enjoying his job

We gather outside the barn, leaning on the fence, to watch Miller at hippotherapy, while his brother, Andy, takes on the climbing wall in the playground behind us. Miller’s riding helmet covers his blond hair, and he’s hard at work this evening. While physical, occupational, and speech therapists create exercises that are also games, because children learn and grow through play, the tasks they design increase strength, ability, and coordination, and require concentration and effort.

Miller was born with cerebral palsy and severe gastrointestinal problems. He’s undergone an ileostomy and he uses a wheelchair. At eight, he’s been doing therapy for years, and has received hippotherapy for the last two summers.  He’s in physical therapy at Triangle this summer, strengthening his core muscles tonight, including lots of reaching and stretching across Paco, his horse. These exercises improve Miller’s balance, strength, and coordination. It’s quite a workout, as Paco moves at a trot, and Miller gives it his all.

Miller’s family lives an hour away. Families of children with developmental impairments often drive their children long distances to a therapy center that is certified to provide hippotherapy: physical, occupational, and speech therapy provided using the horse as a therapy tool. All of his family are here tonight, but Miller’s other weekly therapies are provided in Cincinnati, more than two hours away from their home, and that task usually falls to Mom.

 Kids like Miller are the heroes of their own stories, working hard at tasks that many take for granted. And it’s impossible not to recognize the efforts of the parents who, like Holly and Clint, welcome a newborn and become their child’s healthcare manager in one stroke. It’s life-changing, and parents are faced with creating a new way of living. That so many of them, like Miller’s parents, do so with love and grace inspires us.

When the evening’s therapy is complete, Miller and Paco return to the barn. Miller’s wheelchair is waiting at the door, and he climbs in and rolls up the ramp. Inside, he carefully returns his helmet to the tack room.                                                                                

All smiles, - he's got this!

When he comes out, we’re waiting for him. Miller’s expression, just moments ago intent and serious in the arena, now reverts to beautiful smiles. Shannon, his physical therapist, tells him “You did a good job!” His smile widens. So does ours. 

As a supporter of Jacob’s Fund, you’re helping children like Miller, with developmental impairments, reach their highest potential and live richer, fulfilling lives. As someone has said, “. . . At the end . . . it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better.” We can all share in that. Donating to Jacob’s Fund is easy and takes only a few seconds: just go to our Facebook page, Jacob Beachy Fund, and click the “Donate” button. Or, if you’d like, you can send a check to:

 

Jacob’s Fund

1630 Tipperary Drive

Middletown, Ohio 45042-3875

 

 

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