Fund-raiser exceeds FFA’s expectations
A fund-raiser Saturday night turned out even better than expected.
Tonganoxie High School junior Sarah Smith was injured Sept. 13 when the horse she was riding slipped on wet grass. Since then, Sarah has been a patient at University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kan.
However, Smith had an evening pass Saturday -- to attend a chili supper and silent auction in her honor.
The event was spearheaded by the high school's Future Farmers of America chapter, an organization in which Sarah serves as reporter and her older sister, Shannon, serves as secretary.
Casey Davis, FFA president, was thrilled with Saturday's proceeds. After everything was added up, they'd brought in $5,442.
"I would have been happy with $3,000 or $4,000, but this is definitely more than what we expected," Casey said.
While nobody took an exact count, Casey estimated 300 attended the event, which was held at Tonganoxie Christian Church.
"Sarah had a good time," Casey said. "And all of the FFA kids got to talk to her, everybody got to see her."
Sarah is the daughter of Vickie Smith, Tonganoxie, and Bruce Smith, Wyoming.
"We have been overwhelmed by all the support," Vickie Smith said of the two months since Sarah's injury. "We have had people who have brought food and done chores for us and stayed with Sarah over the lunch hour. It's just been incredible -- not to mention the fund-raising."
Monday, a hospital official said Sarah was in good condition.
"Sarah is progressing well," Vickie Smith said Tuesday. "They are having her team evaluation today and we are fairly confident that she will be coming home soon. She will still have outpatient therapy but at least she should be doing it from home."
Sarah and Shannon are both active in 4-H, as well as in FFA.
Vickie said Sarah already has her next year's 4-H projects planned.
"She will be in the horse and dog and the leadership events," Vickie said said.
As soon as her physician gives permission, Sarah will get back on a horse.
"We have an older horse who's very calm and quiet," her mother said.
And she plans to start Sarah on hippotherapy, which is therapy in which a horse is the tool a therapist uses to improve a patient's neuromotor function.
"They've discovered that in horseback riding the body movements you do are almost like walking, so it's very, very good," Vickie said.
The hippotherapy should help Sarah regain her sense of balance and regain strength on her left side.
"We fully intend to do that as soon as we get the doctor's OK," Vickie said.
Meanwhile, Sarah improves every day. Each achievement, no matter how small, is cause for celebration.
"Last night she was able to push herself up out of the wheelchair, get in the bed and even get her leg up on the bed," Vickie said. "So we are so happy."