2013-04-18 / Local News

Horse people plan benefit for Leland student

Five of the top horse professionals in the area are coming together this month to help a Leland school student who has been battling brain cancer since 2010.

Thirteen-year-old Abby Gross was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, and has been traveling back and forth from her home in Leland to the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments every two weeks.

“The side effects were awful but through it all, the one thing that could always put a smile on Abby’s face was to visit Blue Oxer Riding Academy to visit her horse friends and take riding lessons,” group spokesman Haylee Fisher said. “Some days she only had enough energy to take a few laps around the ring but was always happy to be at the barn.”

Recently Abby was contacted by the Make-A-Wish foundation about making her dream of owning her very own horse come true. “Tiger Lily” arrived at the Blue Oxer on Valentine’s Day 2013, and couldn’t have come at a better time, as the young girl’s cancer had relapsed just a few months previous.

Abby had a second surgery to remove the recurrent tumor cells, and a third on March 25 to repair complications, which have to be repaired before she can enter a clinical trial for a drug that has shown positive results in other patients.

The horse friends are coming together to put on a fundraiser on Abby’s behalf Sunday, April 28. A day of instruction and demonstrations are planned at Cold Spring Farm near Maple City from 1-4 p.m.

Presenters include Tom Pierson and Rachel Ory in reining; Betsy VanDyke in dressage; Judi Shapton in natural horsemanship; Mike Walton in team roping and a special demonstration with Abby and her instructor Emily Brinkman in jumping.

There will be food on site, music, face painting and a silent auction. Cost will be $5 per person at the gate; children 8 and younger are free of charge.

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