Using Horses to Heal
by Catherine Markosky, Mason's mom and the Founder of STAT, Inc.
This is my family, 4 sons, 1 daughter, and 1 daughter-in-law. Mason was born 14 weeks premature, which resulted in traumatic brain injury. The damage done to his airway to keep him alive was so severe that he cannot speak and is dependent on a tracheostomy tube to breath and a gastrostomy tube for nourishment.
Mason also has an extremely rare condition called Costello Syndrome.
He is the most unique kid you’ll ever meet, even with his challenges he is always happy, very caring of others, and… he loves to ride horses. In fact, Mason has been participating in a unique physical therapy treatment called Hippotherapy, since he was 3 years old. Age 3, when most kids are running around, Mason couldn’t even sit up. But, after only 12 weeks of Hippotherapy, Mason was able to sit independently! After months of the unique therapy, he gained enough strength and balance to finally walk! (In 2001 when we brought him home from Pittsburgh’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on full life support, we were told he would not live to age 2 and that he would never breathe on his own …let alone walk!). He is a walking miracle and Hippotherapy was the one treatment that worked!
In 2012, we moved from New York to Ligonier, to be close to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital. We discovered that the horseback riding therapy that he was participating in weekly was not available to him. And where it may have been available, we sat on wait lists for 3 years. So... my family decided
...to build a center for our entire community - for the disabled and the able-bodied - a place to heal - a place to come together and to bear witness to miracles. When you are having a tough day, we want you to come to the Ligonier Therapeutic Center at 24 Stom Road. It will change your life!
Kaleb is non-verbal, but with a dedicated therapy team, we discovered he knew his numbers, despite what the school testing reported...
At 9 years old, he was non-verbal. Doctors told his parents that he would never speak. Read his mother's testimonial about Johnny's first spoken words!
Testimonial - Mason Markosky
(Left to Right) Michelle Markosky, Maggie Markosky, (front) Maxwell, (front/center) Mason, Mike Jr., Matthew, (back) Catherine & Michael Markosky