Most children turning 12 can’t wait to open their presents on their big day. Olivia Szombathy had giving instead of receiving in mind for her 12th Birthday. She decided, instead of presents, she wanted to donate to Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center. She asked friends and family that wanted to participate to give a monetary donation to her cause.
I first met Olivia at a special film event her parents, Teri and Sandor Szombathy, brought her to about the rehabilitation of an injured combat Veteran through the loving relationship with his horse. I sit below eye level from Olivia in my wheelchair and shook her warm hand. The first thing I noticed was that Olivia looked me right in the eyes and was not deterred by my wheels. This is a rare encounter as most people, especially adults, see the wheels first. Olivia then told me she couldn’t wait to be able to volunteer at Swiftsure when she was a little older. I immediately felt a warmth and fondness for Olivia and her larger than life heart. Her mom, Teri, later told me she cried while watching the film about the Veteran and his horse and that it made an impact on her.
I suppose it did. Olivia raised over $150 for Swiftsure Ranch through her birthday wish and her gift will support the horse back riding therapies and activities of our riders and our 1200 lb. therapists, the horses.
We want to thank Olivia for her giant heart, generosity and support of our riders and horses.
If you would like to follow Olivia’s lead and share your giant heart with us too, we would welcome it with open arms. Please feel free to contact us anytime to find out more about our Veteran Equine Therapy programs, Therapeutic Riding program and the advocacy we provide to our community.
~Lacey Heward, PR Coordinator, 208-578-9111, firstname.lastname@example.org