Local horse program provides therapy to cancer patients

GLENMORE, Pa. - July 27, 2012

The organization announced a partnership with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Friday.

Horse Power for Life is a non-profit organization which specializes in therapeutic horsemanship-programs for the area's youngest cancer patients.

It gives kids with cancer a much-needed outlet to just be kids.

Ten-year old Amey Disisto is one of ten child cancer survivors participating in the program.

Amey was treated for leukemia for nearly two and a half years spending much of that time isolated and in-and-out of hospitals and clinics. As an animal lover, her mom knew this would be a perfect fit.

"I jumped at the offer because I knew it was something that Amey would love to do," said Anne Disisto.

Amey comes to the stables at Journey's End Farm in Glenmore once a week for 90 minutes, and learns everything from grooming her assigned pony "Sundance" to saddling him up.

The idea is for children to gain a revived sense of hope.

"It gives her a sense of responsibility, actually having to care for a horse and groom it, and then to be on a saddle and watch her face light up as she is riding around the ring; it just makes her happy," Disisto said.

Shiree Radie founded "Horse Power for Life" in 2007.

"They come and they learn all aspects of horse care. It is to improve their quality of life and just give them confidence and something fun to do outside of the hospital setting," said Shiree.

Amey's instructor is passionate about the program because of her love for horses, children and teaching, and her own experience with cancer.

"My cancer has been in remission for five years, and my husband died from cancer 9 months ago," said instructor Becca Smith. "I feel so blessed to be able to be here."

Meantime, Amy is learning to trot, and is enjoying her time with Sundance more every week.

"He's really fun. If you tell him what to do he will do it," Amey said.

The "Horse Power for Life" program is available to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer in the past five years.

The program runs for 16 weeks. At the end, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will evaluate its success, by determining the physical and emotional benefits, achieved by each cancer patient.

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