Yeehaw! On November 15, more than 400 people enjoyed the Spirit of Giving Gala at Andover Country Club to benefit Ironstone Farm and Challenge Unlimited, (place a comma after the word Unlimited) which provides therapy horses and a working farm environment for the disabled.
Ironstone Farm Executive Director Deedee O’Brien introduced the night by saying, “The horse will do a lot of things for a lot of people, and we’re discovering every day what that can do. And you are making that possible.”
With “Dallas: Bring your Bling” as its theme, the gala featured a mechanical bull, chuck wagons fully loaded with candies, popcorn and nuts, buffets with Texas food, country music from the Houston Bernard Band, a Texas hold‘em table and other gambling games provided by Boston Charity Casinos. Most the invitees wore hats and boots, big hair and bling, among other Texas-style clothing. WBZ-TV sportscaster Bob Lobel, dressed in western gear, hosted a live auction for several vacation packages, while many other items were featured at a silent auction.
The event honored benefactors Doug and Diana Berthiaume, members of the Ironstone Farm Leadership Committee. According to the Andover Townsman Online, the couple offered a matching donation to launch the farm’s five-year capital campaign to further improve its nonprofit programs and facilities.
Normand Deschene, CEO of Circle Health and Lowell General Hospital, was also honored for his three decades of service at the hospital.
Thank to the support and contributions made during that night, Megan Loughney, associate executive director at Ironstone Farm, announced that the Spirit of Giving Gala raised over $350,000
About Ironstone Farm
Ironstone Farm was founded in 1960 by Richard Donovan as a breeding, training, and rehabilitative facility for thoroughbred performance horses. The nonprofit Challenge Unlimited was created out of the Donovan family’s desire to share Ironstone Farm with people whose lives have been challenged by disability. Located on more than 18 acres in Andover, the property consists of pasture, woodland, ponds, and is home to about 35 horses, donkeys, and a variety of wildlife (IronstoneFarm.org).
“Therapeutic riding uses the horse to deliver traditional physical, occupational, and speech therapy in a unique way – providing integration of fine motor, gross motor, speech and sensory integration in one experience,” said Peter Raffalli, a child neurological physician at Children’s Hospital.
“My personal observation is that children with low muscle tone and children with autism spectrum disorder seem to do very well with therapeutic riding. Their parents quite commonly see improvements in truncal tone and endurance, as well as interactions with staff and with their environment,” the doctor said.
To make a donation to Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm through Guidestar, click here.
Other Sources: Megan Donovan ( http://ironstonefarm.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/SOG-14-press-release.pdf )
Pictures and videos by: Diana Santana