Friday, July 8, 2011

Well Done Hannah!!

In this crazy sport of Eventing, we often find ourselves ever focused on training, competing and anything gearing us towards our end goals. It is easy for us to lose sight of the bigger picture and what is truly important in our lives.  One student of mine, Hannah Daneker, put this all in perspective for me following a routine doctor's visit just after Christmas this year.

Hannah had been a student in my program for about six months at the time, and she was learning the ropes of the sport of Eventing on her new pony, Magic.  She had high hopes for the coming year, looking forward to competing in her first horse trials at some point in the spring, when it was discovered on an MRI December 29, 2010 that Hannah had a brain stem tumor.  She was just ten years old at the time, and it appeared the tumor had been developing for five years.  

Hannah and her family consulted many different specialists to plan their course of action.  Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery were their options, and each had their risks and drawbacks.  It was decided that Hannah would undergo surgery on March 4, 2011.  The expectation of the surgery was to remove 50%-70% of the tumor, to give Hannah more time before it would develop again.  While much of the Eventing world was gearing up for the March Sporting Days Horse Trials, Hannah was in surgery to rescect as much of the tumor as possible.

The outcome of the surgery was better than any prognosis.  Doctors were able to remove over 90% of the tumor, and Hannah recovered from the surgery well.  She spent a month at home recovering, and started back at school half-days in April.  She began riding again at the end of April, and within two weeks it looked like she hadn't missed a beat.  Her follow-up MRI on June 14 showed no changes, giving her the go to continue on life as normal.  

Hannah had a monumental day this past Saturday, competing in her first event at the Fair Hill Starter Trials.  She and Magic competed in the Elementary division, and despite an emergency dismount two fences from home on the cross-country, they had a great day. The entire Lily Bridge event team are incredibly proud of Hannah's extraordinary strength and progress, as well as her commitment to her goals. 

Well done Hannah!

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