Each Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we recognize Dreaming of Three, organizing equine events to benefit children suffering from disease.
Jacksonville, FL (August 24, 2016) — “The perfect definition of the phrase ‘All Boy’” is how Brittany Rowland describes her blond two-year-old son Kasen, whose infectious smile is biggest when he’s outdoors playing in the dirt. “His imagination is out of this world,” says Rowland. “He will sit for hours at a time with his toy cars and trucks and have his own story line going.” The little boy was diagnosed with brain cancer just a few months ago, quickly transforming the Rowland family’s life into a cycle of hospital visits, MRIs, and continuous bad news— but thanks to their local Jacksonville, Florida community, a chance to enjoy an evening of outdoor farm life and an exciting barrel race while raising money for Kasen’s procedures is right around the corner.
On Saturday, September 24th, horse trainer Jimbo Albritton will be hosting a barrel race benefit for Kasen Rowland at Albritton’s farm, Flying A Performance Horses in Penney Farms (just outside of Jacksonville) at 3900 Paso Fino Rd., Green Cove Springs. The barrel race is being put on by Dreaming of Three, an organization that uses rodeos and other equine-related events to raise funds for children like Kasen who suffer from tragic diseases.
Jackie Harris, the founder of Dreaming of Three, explains, “Dreaming of Three was started after I lost my stepfather to cancer and my dad to a heart attack three months apart. When my stepfather was diagnosed, for Christmas I had no clue what to give somebody who had 12 months to live. So I decided memories would be the best gift. This is what we try to do with the rodeos and barrel races for kids like Kasen— for the families, it’s a night out, not thinking about doctors, treatments, and the illness. It’s just family time; a night with no worries while being treated like kings or queens.”
Everyone’s invited to join in the fun of the upcoming barrel race benefit, which in addition to the barrel race will include pony rides, face painting, a bounce house, vendors, food, a silent auction, and a blood donation bus for anyone willing to help Kasen through blood donations.
Kasen, for one, is looking forward to the event. “I think Kasen will enjoy getting out of the house, being outside, and experiencing something new and different,” Brittany Rowland says. She and Kasen’s father, Chad Rowland, will also enjoy a night of fun with Kasen and his older siblings, Dillon and Allie.
Kasen was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February 2016. When a 12-hour brain surgery was only able to remove 75 percent of the tumor, Kasen had to begin re-learning everything he had so far mastered in his two years of life, down to re-learning how to swallow. He has recently started walking again, but still suffers from weakness in his left arm and hand and paralysis to the left side of his face. Kasen began chemotherapy in March 2016, with high hopes that he would be cured. Unfortunately, the tumor did not respond to the chemo and instead grew larger. Doctors then predicted only a 50 percent chance that Kasen would survive. Kasen is now currently going through treatment with a different kind of chemotherapy, and will have an MRI in September to see if the new treatment is working.
“There have been many hospital admissions and setbacks since this nightmare began,” explains Brittany Rowland. “We will use the funds raised at the barrel race benefit to go towards Kasen’s medical expenses, gas for traveling to and from his weekly chemotherapy appointments, and his weekly medication costs. Kasen has a long road ahead.
“People ask us how we do it and how we stay strong— but honestly, we don’t do it and we don’t stay strong. Kasen does. He gives us our strength and our will power to keep going. Kasen has one of the biggest and brightest personalities I have ever witnessed in a two-year-old. Through all of the hard times— the surgeries, the needles, the daily medications, the vomiting, the chemo, the tests and scans, the hours of infusions— he somehow keeps a smile on his face and a belly full of laughs,” Rowland says. “His will to win, his determination to succeed, is by far the strongest thing I have ever seen.”
Albritton, who is the Florida Captain of Dreaming of Three, says, “One hundred percent of the money donated to this benefit— including proceeds and vendor fees — will be used to benefit the Rowland family. Donations to the event can be made through Dreaming of Three, which is a non-profit organization and tax deductible.”
Anyone interested in entering the barrel race to compete for the prize purse can contact Albritton at [email protected] or (407) 319-8268. Barrel racing entries are $35.00, and admission for spectators at the event is $5.00 per adult (kids are free!). All businesses are welcome to sponsor the event, or to be a vendor for a fee of $50.00. Advertising and sponsorship packages are available for businesses who would like to sponsor. Anyone interested in sponsoring, vending, donating a silent auction prize, or helping in any other way can contact Albritton for more details. The barrel race will begin at 6:00 pm, so be sure to come by and join in the excitement.
To donate to Kasen Rowland and his family, a check can be made out to Dreaming of Three, 5700 Corporate Dr., Suite 455, Pittsburgh, PA, 15237. Dreaming of Three will send the donations to Albritton to be presented at the benefit.
Press release courtesy of Jimbo Albritton.
If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.