TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson girl was born with Cerebral Palsy, a disease that greatly impacts her ability to walk and talk, but with equine therapy, she may be able to take her first steps.
With pink glasses, pink shoes, pink clothes and a pink bow, Maddy Lester comes to play at the My Gym in Tucson with a big personality.
Playing, for many 6-year-olds, isn’t as hard as it is for Lester, but nothing stops her from jumping on the trampoline, or swinging high—even playing in a ball pit. In addition to Cerebral Palsy, she has other rare brain disorders.
“She’s a sweetheart of a girl…she’s worth every second of effort,” said Kathy Lester, Maddy Lester’s grandmother.
Kathy Lester helps her for every step, every jump—and even every roll, by picking her up, carrying her or giving her the push she needs. It would be her dad helping, but two years ago he tragically died in a motorcycle accident. His red hair and personality live on through her.
“She has her daddy’s red hair, his beautiful eyes and his great smile,” said Kathy Lester, remembering her son.
But, as Kathy Lester gets older and Maddy gets bigger, it’s tougher for her grandparents to lift and pull.
“That’s our hope through all our therapies, that we can at least get her up on her feet so she can at least transfer from her chair to her bed or move around the house easier,” said Kathy Lester, “The ultimate goal, obviously, would be for her to be able to walk.”
Maddy Lester was recently enrolled in equine therapy, and her grandmother said she seems to be improving because of it. The movement of the horse forces Maddy to strengthen her core, essential to moving the whole body. However, a 12 week session is about $600.
The My Gym Foundation is hoping to help send her to therapy, by raising money at their Tucson gym location. A small box sits on the counter, big enough for cash or check donations.
“Just making kids happy. It just warms my heart. I just love it,” said Kevin Wichers, owner of My Gym Tucson.
Whichers proceeds from their upcoming Christmas parties will go toward Maddy, and their hope is to fundraise until they reach their goal of $600.
If you would like to donate, you can stop in the store in Oro Valley, or visit https://www.mygymfoundation.org/ and put #MaddyInTucson at the checkout.