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PLAE-it-forward + Burke and Melissa

September 1, 2018 432 Views

After bursting on the scene at only 26 weeks, Burke had Stage 3 Bilateral IVH (brain bleeds) which resulted in a cerebral palsy diagnosis at about 12 months of age. When he was 18 months old, his mom Melissa knew she wanted him to start hippotherapy, and TherAplay was the only group in their city that would work with kids as young as Burke. Melissa and Burke have since had such remarkably positive experiences with their occupational and physical therapist teams that they decided to become PLAE-it-forward ambassadors in support of TherAplay.

Photos care of Melissa French

The staff and therapists at TherAplay work together to provide support for both the kiddos and the parents. Although some insurance plans cover therapeutic services at TherAplay, there is no financial support to address the cost of operating a year-round facility, and as a result 56% of each and every therapy session’s cost is covered by donations. TherAplay operating year-round is crucial, because it means that once a child starts treatment there that child has the opportunity to keep building momentum and can more quickly see results than would be possible with interrupted treatment. In fact, since they start working with kids as young as 18 months and will work with kids who weigh up to 85 pounds, many kids are able to receive life-changing, ongoing TherAplay therapy for quite a few years. And luckily for them, TherAplay makes therapy fun for kids.

Photos care of TherAplay


Burke, for one, absolutely loves going to TherAplay. When he wants to go see his therapists, he tells Melissa he wants to “go play.” The connection he has with his therapists, the other kids, and the TherAplay staff makes his hard work feel like play time, and since starting at TherAplay Burke has been able to sit unassisted (a huge feat for him!) and has begun starting to walk with the help of a gait trainer. The treatment he receives at TherAplay is a key factor in his achievement.

Wouldn’t it be great if while you were doing something you had already planned to do, like buying shoes for your child and/or yourself, you could simultaneously make a financial donation to TherAplay to help make a huge impact in the lives of kiddos with special needs? Oh wait - you can! Simply PLAE-it-forward with Burke, Melissa, and TherAplay by using checkout code GIVE476 and a full 10% of your PLAE purchase price will be donated to TherAplay. You can also find Burke on Facebook.