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Theme Children

Meet Taisha, 2002 Theme Child

posted by Denise Chasin at 2010-10-04 05:35:00

Taisha Bakker

We at PERSONAL PONIES are repeatedly amazed at the courage of the children with whom we place our ponies, but we have been especially touched by Taisha Bakker's love of life and indomitable spirit. She is an inspiration to all who know her and we are delighted that she has agreed to represent PPL in activities in her community and to serve as our Poster Girl for 2002.

This is Taisha's story as told by Amy Lionberger, PPL Community Director in Sedona, Arizona.

A bit about me...

Life often turns in mysterious ways. My husband, Bill, was diagnosed with cancer on Christmas Eve, 2000. On that day our lives changed forever, but in more ways than we could then imagine. Though he is now in remission, my dear husband had to fight a terrible battle, and during the following nine months I spent hundreds of hours in hospitals watching my husband, and many children, suffering through chemotherapy. All I could think about when I saw these sick children was how lucky we were that our little daughter, Madison, was healthy. I also knew as I watching what these children were going through, that I wanted to do something to "give back" to life, since so many friends and family had rallied around us to help and give comfort.

But it wasn't until last August when Bill was finally feeling better that the idea hit me to do something for children in my own community. I didn't know what I was going to do--that is, until I happened upon the PERSONAL PONIES website one night while looking for a pony for Madison. One click and I suddenly found myself knowing EXACTLY what I wanted to do!

Meet Taisha!

Taisha with Sir Clancy

Taisha is a most extraordinary young woman by any standard! She and her family live in Sedona and she was, and continues to be, the inspiration for my PERSONAL PONIES program here. To be around her is to be lifted up by the hands of an angel.

Taisha and her ponyTaisha has Osteo Genesis Imperfecta and throughout her life has had to endure many broken bones, multiple surgeries, and ongoing treatments. At age fourteen, Taisha may be short in stature, but she has a heart and soul the size of the magnificent red rock mountains of Sedona.

Despite her physical limitations, Taisha races around school in her electric wheelchair, usually followed by half a dozen laughing friends. She is a normal, funny, charming, and very bright teenager. Like other girls her age, she loves Brittany Spears, dancing, Barbies, and Beanies. She is never without a smile, a hearty laugh, and a joke waiting to be told.

Taisha, Madison, and Clancy

Tiasha and friends Taisha and my five year old daughter, Madison, are great friends and they play together often, chasing each other all over the house like wild things, one in a wheelchair and one on foot. Taisha has discovered a way to slip out of her chair and finds the best hiding places when the girls play hide and seek.

When I discovered PPL on the internet, I knew right away that this was a program that could add a wonderful new dimension to Taisha's life. I wrote to Marianne Alexander, our national director, and within a few months, SIR CLANCY OF LIONBERGER and ALCHEMIST STERLING arrived at our farm (and I can say unequivocably that the first meeting between ponies and child was more magical than anything Santa could have ever conjured up!). The tiny ponies are just the right size for Taisha, and their patient and willing ways makes them wonderful companions. Now Madison and Taisha have two new "toys" to share and lots of wonderful memories yet to make!

Taisha, friends and poniesThe first time Taisha came to see her new ponies was over Christmas vacation, 2001. Her parents pulled up in their car and unloaded her "all terrain" super cool wheel chair and escorted her to the side of the house where we have built a mini-town, corral, and mini-barn. We had put up a huge poster that said "WELCOME TAISHA, and when she saw the poster and the ponies, she looked at me and said, "These CAN'T be for ME, can they?

I explained that these ponies were for her and any other child that needs them. Then she and I entered the corral and within two minutes CLANCY and Taisha were inseparable. As we left, she whispered into CLANCY's ear, "I love you more than you can ever know." Need I say there wasn't a dry eye anywhere?

Taisha and Madison getting grain

Taisha comes twice a week to visit the ponies and is learning to scoop "poop" from her wheel chair. Our program, PERSONAL PONIES of Sedona is already known all over town and we have had many children come to have some loving time with the ponies.

With Taisha's help, we will also be using our ponies to promote PPL in northern Arizona so that other kids can benefit from the MAGIC that a "personal pony" can bring. God blessed us with PERSONAL PONIES and we plan to be involved with PPL for many, many years to come.

But the best part of all is what this program has given to my daughter, Madison, in lessons in loving, sharing, helping others, and understanding that it is not just Daddys that get sick...sometimes children get sick too. But the great part is that because of PERSONAL PONIES we can help them in a most special way.

Aren't we lucky!
Amy Lionberger
PPL Community Director
Sedona, Arizona
posted at: 2010-10-04 05:35:00, last updated: 2014-06-17 14:38:13