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“In addition to helping children in Ireland with sight loss, your support also helps sighted children with disabilities to access ChildVision’s equine therapy that transforms their tomorrows.”

See how, even after 14 long weeks in a cast and with a medical diagnosis so rare there are only 23 documented cases, Lucy is forever changed by your love and generosity…

Her medical diagnosis is so rare — what’s known as a micro-deletion on Chromosome 6 — that experts still aren’t 100% certain what her overall outlook will be. And before Lucy was even three, Lucy would spend 14 weeks in a cast after surgery for severe hip dysplasia. In her mother Diane’s words, little Lucy arrived at ChildVision for equine therapy just after the cast had come off, not yet standing or walking, and justifiably “very wary of new situations and experiences.”

Lucy was teary in her assessment. But ChildVision’s Equine Assisted Occupational Therapist, Audrey, instantly went to work to earn Lucy’s trust, as mum Diane explains in the log she’s kept since that first session. “All I can say is that Audrey is gifted. She looked Lucy in the eye and gently explained how she would put a yellow strap on her and then get on the horse. Lucy’s core and head control were still weak, but Audrey sang a little song to her as they were trotting and this really calmed Lucy. By that first night she already seemed to be happier in herself.”

As each session flew past, Lucy’s therapy journal shows seismic changes. Diane wrote how, in the days following Lucy’s first official session, her physiotherapist already noticed a change, saying that “she seemed more willing to try everything.” This budding self-confidence is one of the happy hallmarks of equine therapy, and one you directly help to kindle: the programme is 100% funded by your donations.

By the third therapy session, Lucy was using new words like “water,” and “go,” and to mum Diane’s astonishment, “Lucy actually sat backwards and was lying down on the horse. Audrey explained how this technique worked her core and the sensory experience; it was amazing to watch.” And thanks to your support, for children with disabilities like Lucy’s, the science behind the therapy is transformational: the motion of a horse mimics natural human movements such as walking. Soon Lucy sat taller and stronger in the saddle!

With twenty-plus therapy sessions now under her belt, it’s hard to believe Lucy will celebrate her fourth birthday this month. But one of mum Diane’s most recent entries shows what your love, and one brave little girl, can accomplish. “Something magical happened today, a real breakthrough. Lucy without any prompting said to her equine therapist, ‘I was in school today.’ Then she saw a horse box while riding, pointed to it and said, ‘Horse go on holidays?’”

Later, Diane wrote the best thanks of all. “With the aid of a walker, Lucy just took her first sure-footed independent steps. It was such a huge achievement through her grit and determination. There are not enough words to thank the whole ChildVision team. They are dedicated experts – and thanks to supporters, what they have helped Lucy to achieve speaks for itself.”

Thank you for being there for Lucy and all our children and young people.

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