by Alicia Garcia

I would have to begin with my sister Carmen Densing who became a SIRE volunteer in 2008 at the Hockley site. In 2009, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune illness, Wegeners Granulomatosis.

Since this illness was diagnosed at a late stage, I spent months in the hospital undergoing a lot of treatments to save my life. At that time, on life support, then recovery, I lost all motor skills. My family was at the hospital every day. After work, my husband would be there, also every day. They helped feed me and dress me until I could do these things myself.

One day, I came home. Determined to regain all of my strength, I pushed on. In a wheelchair unable to walk I often wondered and prayed that I would walk again. My sister, Carmen, was with me at one of my appointments with my rheumatologist. She talked to him about my becoming a client at SIRE. He refused.

But we didn’t give up. Carmen persisted and handed Dr. Rubin brochures about SIRE at my one of my appointments. He finally agreed I could go.

Two visits at SIRE in the spring of 2011 and a miracle happened. I started to walk. How do you think Dr. Rubin and my whole family and friends reacted? With elation and joy! Dr. Rubin was amazed. He asks me about my progress at every visit.

I have never experienced such a wonderful feeling of confidence and hope in my life until I started therapeutic horsemanship. My confidence cannot be measured. I look forward to each session and know I’m getting closer and closer to my goals.

I often feel that God put me in touch with SIRE so that I could be in a place where people would be there to help me. People who care about the population that is disabled. I don’t even think about a world without SIRE because there are so many reasons why SIRE exists. The horses, the people, the skills to teach us and encourage us. What more can I say?

The volunteers are worth their weight in gold. The staff is always working hard to keep the program in the best of the best of equipment, training, horses and all that is necessary and more.

So, my story continues. Stay tuned. I will meet more of my goals at SIRE!

Alicia Garcia