Sarah with her horse Borax, affectionately known as B.
Sarah with her horse Borax, affectionately known as B. Contributed

Call out to keep young Goonellabah girl's dream alive

SARAH is a gentle soul who each day has to face her own mortality, but does it with a maturity beyond her years.

The 17-year-old Goonellabah girl has a rare condition called mitochondrial disease that causes debilitating physical, developmental and cognitive disabilities with symptoms including poor growth, loss of muscle coordination, muscle pain, seizures, visual problems and so much more.

Sarah experiences almost continual pain, sometimes even breathing is an effort.

At the age of two Sarah was taken to Riding for the Disabled (RDA) because she had a love of horses.

According to her riding instructor Suzy Maloney, the act of sitting on a horse is of enormous benefit in developing balance and strengthening core muscles.

But the biggest plus was that when sitting on a horse she feels like she has a strong body.

"She is powerful on a horse as they took her places she couldn't go on her own,” Ms Maloney wrote on her GoFundMe page.

"Sarah has a natural affinity with the horses as they tune into her gentle energy levels and feel safe in her presence.”

Three years ago, at the age of 14, Sarah's lifelong dream of having her own horse became a reality when Borax, affectionately known as B, came into her life.

Borax was not the type of horse you'd expect a disabled child to have as he was a young, fit, healthy, chestnut, thoroughbred gelding.

But Borax also had a gentle soul and had difficulties with humans, and their big energy, they scared him, but not Sarah.

With Sarah he felt safe.

Then occasionally when Sarah went to mount and ride Borax there was too much pain and she couldn't do it.

These times increased in number and then she was no longer able to hold the reins and direct him herself due to lack of strength and energy and the pain involved.

She now visits Borax where he's agisted every day with her mum. They feed him and spend time in the paddock with him.

"If there's a scary thing like a tractor or aeroplane flying overhead, Borax will run around frantically getting in between Sarah and the object trying to protect her,” Ms Maloney said.

"This massive horse has softness and a connection with Sarah that would warm anyone's heart. Sometimes he comes to Sarah and lies down on the ground beside her.”

A while ago Sarah's mum bought a van and fitted it out to be wheelchair accessible, using up the last of her money.

At the moment Sarah can still walk a short distance on some days, but this will not last and in order to be able to go anywhere at all she will need to use the wheelchair.

Being able to put the wheelchair inside the van is essential.

But then the problems began.

They were told by a mechanic that the van was a dud and not able to be driven and not able to be sold.

There's no more money left.

So now they borrow a car every single day so they can go to Borax.

"She needs to see him as he's an affirmation that life is good, that life is worth living,” Ms Maloney said.

"He waits for her to arrive every day and sometimes he waits a long time.”

Ms Maloney has set up a GoFundMe account in the hope of raising $50,000 which will be enough money to buy a new van that is wheelchair accessible, so Sarah can visit Borax on a regular basis.

If you would like to help Sarah continue her dream you can donate here.



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