Girl gets surprise birthday party complete with horse - WNEM TV 5

Girl gets surprise birthday party complete with horse

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Illness can be devastating for children, especially as friends and neighbors play outside while they are forced to watch the fun from inside.

A local non-profit group understands that pain and gives the children a glimmer of sunshine during the dark times.

The group, Camp Casey's Horsey House Call, brings a mobile horse camp experience right to the doors of children with cancer and rare blood diseases.

Three local sisters are going through some tough times. Two of them suffer from sickle cell anemia - an illness that robs them from fully enjoying the summer months like most kids.

"I was like 'why is everyone standing in front of my house,'" Amanda Panek said.

Aug. 9 was Amanda's birthday. She doesn't have sickle cell, but her sisters do.

The three were surprised with a party complete with a horse courtesy of Camp Casey.

The non-profit teamed up with the Hagerman Foundation to bring the horse to the Panek sisters. It is something their mother Jamika will never forget.

"Overwhelmed because they did more than I ever thought they would. it's just good for them to be able to come to the kids' houses and give them the opportunity to get to do things that other kids do," Jamika Panek said.

Camp Casey does about 40 horsey house calls a year.

Molly Reeser, with Camp Casey, said the kids bring their friends and family. They get horse back rides, play games and learn about horses in their own back yards.

"There is nothing better in my opinion than a horse. They are a large animal that come with a very calming presence. And these families are going through some very traumatic times," Reeser said.

Nearly a dozen volunteers made the birthday party happen.

Reeser said they are always looking for others to help with the program.

As for Amanda and her sisters, it was a good party.

"We like the horse," Amanda said.

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