"When kids really connect with a horse, there are few things in the world that are deeper and richer than that sort of a relationship. Toys don't give you that. You can't give enough toys to get that sort of an enriched experience. And so, with these little kids that are sick, it is really a worthwhile thing to do and Tracy has devoted so much of her life to doing it. We wanted to do what we could to help her and help the kids"
~ Joel Kiesner
Sponsored the fund raising event: 24 hour "Ride-A-Thon"
Click here to read magazine article about the event.
My name is Shelby White; I am 18 years old and am a survivor of ALL Leukemia. I wanted to tell you about my life and what angel heart farm means to me. I was diagnosed three years ago with Leukemia. I am also deaf but can read lips and have some hearing with my hearing aid. I lost my Daddy in Iraq the year before. My mom found out about angel heart farm at the hospital clinic. I love horses very much and so does my little brother.
I got to go to the farm and pick out any horse I wanted to ride, I rode on a trail ride at the horse park but this is a lot different. I picked a brown horse named Dory, she was so sweet and pretty, she had really big ears but the teacher Tracy said she had big ears so she could hear what we were saying. I got to learn how to brush her and give her a bath and learn to ride. I learned to walk and trot but did not want to canter. Last July I got to be in a big horse show at the horse park with Dory, I rode hunt seat. Tracy and her friend that she rides with got me a fancy show outfit and tall riding boots so I looked like everyone one else. I was very nervous, but I practiced a lot and Tracy said Dory was the best horse in the barn to show and had boxes of ribbons to prove it. Tracy’s riding teacher gave me some tips too before I went in. As soon as I got in the big arena I was not scared, Dory was so awesome, I won a huge ribbon and the judges said that I did really great. I know my Daddy was watching over me and was proud of my riding skills.
I got to bring my best friend Hailey to the barn, she is deaf too, she got to ride Dory’s best friend Chester, we had a great day and it was really hot and we gave the horses bubble baths. I want to be a veterinarian very badly, I got to meet Tracy’s horse vet Dr. Julie and I got to ride along with her visiting barns with sick or hurt horses. Dr. Julie said I would make a wonderful vet one day.
I started college in September at EKU and still hope to be a vet, I know it is going to be hard but I beat Leukemia so I can do anything. My favorite horse Dory died last October, I am still very sad about it, she was like a new best friend that gave me a lot of love and happiness, I know she is with my Daddy in heaven. I miss the farm and Dory but hopefully I will get to visit this summer.
"I have been a hematology/oncology nurse at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital for 6 years. It never gets easy watching innocent children fight such a terrible illness. Cancer is a scary and hurtful disease that destroys lives. Those affected by it, patients and family members alike often feel powerless against it’s brunt force. That’s why I am overjoyed to have discovered the Angel Heart Farm to share with these tiny heroes! What a wonderful outlet for these children to release their hurts, frustrations, and disappointments that cancer has inflicted them with. All too often, so many of life’s great “carefree” moments are stolen from these children.
Cancer robs these precious children from going to parks, swimming pools, birthday parties, school, holidays, and so much more. This program gives the patients, siblings, and parents something beautiful to look forward to. Angel Heart Farm offers an escape for these very deserving children and their family. In a time of crisis and emotional devastation, Angel Heart Farm offers healing and hope through equine therapy."
~Andrea Nichols , RN, CPN
Kentucky Children’s Hospital
I am writing to whom it may concern about my daughter Elizabeth that passed away from Oligodendroglioma in August 2012. Elizabeth was a very shy ten year old that never complained but her father that had shared custody with me noticed something was very wrong with her balance and she started fallinga lot. He took her to the doctor’s and they put her in the hospital that day and started strong treatments and she under went surgery. They told us that this was not a good case but they would try and take care of our little girl. Her older brother was very scared too.
I saw a pamphlet at the hospital about riding horses and it was free for sick children. I took Elizabeth and her brother there to ride. The woman that runs the riding school was very nice, she gave Elizabeth a pair of pink riding boots and let her pick out what horse she wanted to ride.
I was concerned that she did not have good balance to ride but her teacher had another lady walk next to her the whole time she rode the horse and she had on a helmet. Elizabeth was very happy to ride and actually smiled, she rarely had smiled since she was sick. She only was able to ride a few times but she really liked it. She loved horses very much and I know if she did not die from the brain tumor she would be still be riding.
I had a horse drawn carriage at Her funeral at the Baptist Church in Versailles, her riding teacher Tracy came to her service and gave me a picture of her and her horse together. I think that riding was important to Elizabeth. I miss my daughter very much, I wish it could have been me that got sick not her.
“Angel Heart was a place where he felt loved, connected and free,” wrote Stan and Niki of Tennessee of their 11-year-old son, Gavin, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3. “So many really tough days [both emotionally and physically] were made bearable because of the joy we saw in our boy when he was at the farm.”
Stan and Niki
"I have personally witnessed an extraordinary lady take a program from nothing to a program of solace for too many to count. I would recommend Tracy for most any task set before her and watch her pour her work ethic into this challenge."
~ William V.B. Webb
"Tracy treats each of these children as if they were the only one in the world. Each child gets special attention, and the siblings are not ignored. Tracy stays in touch with these children, even after many become too ill to continue in the program. She also remains in contact with the families."
~ Chris Pfetzer
“All of Angel Heart’s horses and ponies are eager to please and teach riders the art of being touch cowboys and cowgirls. Cancer doesn’t just exhaust the body, it can exhaust the spirit, but as time progresses, with each visit to the Angel Crew, you can notice a rider’s change in muscle control, attitude, and self-positive awareness. As one of our mother’s said after her son visited the clinic, ‘It used to be a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, now time in the saddle is what he wants most."
“The ability to control an animal ten times their own weight and strength is a major accomplishment. After a ride, children are encouraged to give their horse or pony a bath or good brushing, and return them to their stall with a carrot or two. These acts of care giving enable a child to feel more responsible and build self-esteem."
~ Chloe Kaye Pediatrics Oncologist Nurse
"Tracy Kujawa is one of the most unique people I’ve ever met in my life. Her love for kids and passion in helping share the joy of horses and the healing they can provide for a child’s soul is incredible. She has dedicated her life to a cause she knows and understands first hand with her own experiences with cancer. It has made her uniquely qualified for her work with Angel Heart Farms."
~ Pat Dunn
The Cowboy Store, Inc.
"Tracy’s dedication to Angel Heart Farm and its’ purpose is evident in her management of the farm, horses, and the children under her care. She shares the excitement and happiness when a child has a successful treatment for an illness, as well as the sadness when a child is losing their battle. To hear the stories and see the children at Angel Heart Farm, happily working with the horses, I feel privileged to be able to give the best care possible to the horses that give hope to the children that claim them as best friends."
~ S. Nicole Cone-Evans, DVM
"I have firsthand knowledge about how wonderful the Angel Heart Farm and Miss Tracy are to so many children and their families, and how relaxing and enjoyable times at the farm are for those whose lives are stressed by difficult situation that they have no control over."
~ Jonah Keltner
"Survival. Angel Heart Farm provides a safe, family centered environment for children to care for, interact with, and bond with horses. Tracy Kujawa and her staff work tirelessly to provide a positive experience for these children and their families."
~ Anderson B. Collier III,
"We have so many reasons to love Angel Heart Farm but I would like to name a few. Cameron has learned to ride and care for a horse. He has won trophies from competitions. His favorite pair of shoes are cowboy boots given to him at the farm. We are confident in his ability to care for the hamster he is getting this Christmas because we see how much he loves the animals at Angel Heart Farm. We have met other cancer families at the farm instead of in a hospital room. Bottom line is that we will forever be grateful to Angel Heart Farms. The Scherer family will always support this special organization as long as there are horses to be fed, brushed, saddled and ridden!"
~ Amy Scherer
"Angel Heart Farm has created a safe environment where children can experience the wamth and peace of bonding with animals, thereby promoting a positive effect in the healing process. Prior studies have shown that pet therapy can improve one's mental and physical health, shorten recovery time and decrease stress and incidents of depression in children and adults. Through interaction with animals, children are empowered to be caregivers instead of care recipients. The goal of Angel Heart Farm is to improve the lives of children wit animal assisted therapy in conjunction with their physician-ordered treatment."
~ Richard H. Ho, MD, MSCI
Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Pediatrics Oncologist