Non-Profit Therapeutic Riding Program
at Mega Arte

Available up to four times a year Mega Arte hosts, probono, a special therapeutic riding day at the ranch. Make-A-Wish Foundation brings 15 wish children, active or in remission with childhood cancers, to take a break from the hospitals and chemotherapy treatments, and instead raise their spirits, and bring them in contact with the healing and nurturing spirit of our gentle therapy horses, specially selected for their quiet dispositions. They also get to tour the ranch and feed and handle all of our zoo animals.
Mega Arte also has programs for special disabilities children and autistic children.

Make-A-Wish Story
Carlsbad teen Melanie Adams is a pretty typical 15-year-old. She likes hanging out with her friends, spending time on her computer, using PlayStation and watching Animal Planet. but a year and a half ago, a diagnosis turned her life upside down; at one point she was given only a 20 to 30 percent chance of survival.
Melanie graduated from middle school in June 2004, and within a week was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes. "If you can imagine, we went from pictures at her graduation to hospitalization within one week," says her father, Bob Adams. She was put on an aggressive regimen of eight rounds of chemotherapy.
After five rounds, however, she became extremely ill with acute respiratory distress syndrome and ended up in the ICU on life support for three weeks. Her chances of survival weren't good. Fortunately, she pulled through and slowly began recovering.
About this time, a social worker from the hospital told the family that Melanie was eligible for Make-A-Wish. Melanie's father remembers talking with her about the upcoming meeting with the Wish Granters:
"I said, "The Make-A-Wish people are going to come around and speak to you and have you decide what you would like that you've always wanted in the world. When they asked her what she would like, we were kind of shocked that she asked for a horse.
We would have been quite happy if she had said an Alaskan cruise or a trip to Disneyland or what have you, but she chose a horse and that was her first wish and she stuck with that the whole way through.
As with any wish, the foundation wanted to make sure it was going to be a good fit for her. And even though Melanie had always liked horses and had done a little riding, she did have a few reservations. 'I was kind of uncertain. I was thinking, will I actually bond with the horse? Because I hadn't been around them very much.'
Wish Coordinator Diane Johnson recommended the Therapeutic Riding Program at the Helen Woodward Center, as Melanie had some nerve damage on her left side and was undergoing rehab. The 10-week program did help with her rehabilitation and solidified in Melanie's mind that a horse was definitely what she wanted.
After several months of checking out ranches, Melanie and her Family picked the Mega-Arte Riding Academy. The foundation granted her wish by giving her a half-lease on a horse named Jasmine and riding lessons twice a week for two years. She had her first lesson in July 2005.
As Melanie's mother, Tina Adams, tells it, 'She absolutely loves it. She is learning to groom and lunge the horse, and she's learning about horsemanship. She really enjoys the whole horse ownership part of it. It really has been therapeutic and a beneift to her recovery.' (From San Diego Family Magazine, December, 2005)

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