Nearly 40 cancer-surviving kids got to spend a sunny summer Thursday up close and personal with horses as a part of American Cancer Society's Camp Live a Dream.
The children, ranging in ages from nine to 17 years, joined Bobbie and Jeff Hartpence at their Answered Prayers Ranch in Guthrie.
Six-year camp veteran Brylea Lind is a counselor in training this year.
They found she had retina blastoma at 5 weeks old and, as a recent high school graduate, she was excited about receiving a new eye after outgrowing her first artificial eye.
“I live for camp,” she said.
The 20-acre ranch got its name because Jeff is a disabled veteran and a survivor of high stage III colon cancer. When rounds of chemo and doctor visits wrapped up for this couple, they had a new perspective on life. Walking away from a nice home in the city to have some land and horses where they could “give back” was a dream come true.
O-State Equine Assisted Therapy provides therapeutic equine programs for veterans, wounded active duty service members and their families and cancer patients completely free of charge. They rely solely on donations of individuals and companies to help fund the program and are awaiting 5013C approval designated it as a nonprofit organization.
Day of activities
In its 26th year, Camp Live a Dream, along with the O-State Equine people, provided the children a magical day with horses that included riding in the arena, learning how to groom horses, painting them with big hand prints on their rumps, using live horse tails for abstract painting on paper canvases as well as two-legged barrel racing, face painting, balloon art and games of horse shoes. The Pop's catering truck showed up with lunch for the whole group at the end of the day.
Dani Bormann, camp volunteer, sees the kids as family.
“They deserve to have a week to come out and do all these things as a ‘normal' kid,” she said.