Growing Hope

Katie is facing life with newfound courage and strength! Weekly Rehabilitation Services sessions with physical therapist Sheila and Vaulting classes with instructor Mackenzie and sister Megan help Katie to achieve things her parents never thought she would.

Katie’s mom, Julie, writes:

Katie is a medical mystery. Since birth she has had developmental delays and issues with her eyes. Although we have done every test possible (MRI, Micro-array genetic testing, specific genetic mutation genetic testing, surgery on her eyes) nothing has come up as a diagnosis. Katie struggles with both fine and gross motor control, motor planning, speech and cognitive delays, and balance. Although Katie can walk independently, in 2019 she began to have seizures which caused MANY MANY falls so her confidence is completely gone and her anxiety and fears are keeping her from wanting to walk.

When Katie began physical therapy, she had a very “small” view of her world. She was most concerned about what was going on within her arms length and had a very “protectionist” posture, falling to her knees when she saw that people were too close and hesitant to go around corners for fear of someone coming the other way and knocking her over. Since working with Sheila, she is much more aware of the “outside” world and notices things at a distance because she is not having to concentrate on keeping herself upright like she used to.

Katie on Panache

Since coming to Forward Stride, Katie’s progress has improved exponentially and we have yet to hit any plateaus. Instead of responding with grunts to display anger and frustration, Katie will now say “I’m tired” or “That’s not funny” when she’s asked to do something challenging, and will still do what’s being asked of her. Her ability to share her feelings and desires has greatly improved. She has a lot of work to do there but she has really improved.

Katie & Sheila high-fiving

This past summer on our family vacation Katie was able to float independently in the pool (with a life jacket, of course). Never before had she had the core strength to keep herself on her back. This was a huge milestone and gave us that glimmer of the chance of some true independence for Katie (and for me…not always needing to have a hand holding/supporting would be a dream). Everyone at the barn has been so positive and inviting to our family. Both of the girls just love it there and for Katie to belong to a group who share common interests like this is just wonderful.

I hope that the staff and volunteers realize and KNOW the immense value they hold and how they are such amazing people to give their time and talents to these individuals that are in need. We have considered moving out of state to be nearer to family and Forward Stride is LITERALLY one of the deciding factors as to why we CAN’T/WON’T move. We don’t want to walk away from this barn and the progress Katie has made. With Forward Stride we have HOPE.

Forward Stride is a 501(c)3 non-profit and we would not exist without our donors. Donations support every single one of our programs, help us care for our herd, and ensure we can continue to serve clients like Katie for years to come.

Please donate today.