event always up to Challenge
By Chris Camire, email@example.com
Updated: 11/26/2008 11:08:31 AM EST
ANDOVER -- Each
week, Mary Denise McCarthy is picked up at her Lowell home and driven
to Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm.
She spends the
entire day volunteering her time -- leading horses, helping kids and
keeping the farm tidy.
has come to define everything that Challenge Unlimited, a nonprofit
that offers horse-riding therapy to people with an array of physical,
emotional and cognitive disabilities, stands for.
miss her when she doesn't come," said Deedee O'Brien, Challenge
Unlimited's executive director.
On Saturday night, McCarthy accepted one of three awards given by Challenge
Unlimited at Ironstone Farm during its 6th annual Spirit of Giving gala
at the Andover Country Club.
Honored along with McCarthy were philanthropist Ed Stevens of North
Andover, and Children's Hospital pediatrician Dr. Allen Crocker of Natick.
The event raised more than $130,000 for Challenge Unlimited. McCarthy
has helped the non-profit raise money for many years.
Challenge Unlimited compiles a yearbook to help raise money, and McCarthy
faithfully hits the streets of downtown Lowell to ask business owners
to buy ad space.
"They talk about grassroots fundraising," said O'Brien. "It
doesn't get anymore grassroots than that."
McCarthy was given the second
Joann Weber Foundation Award. The award honors the late Joann Weber,
who, along with her husband Drew, were co-owners of the Lowell Spinners
minor league baseball team.
O'Brien said McCarthy, who suffers from epilepsy, has a lot in common
"She's somebody who has to face obstacles in her life but does
it without making it about themselves," said O'Brien. "She's
spent her life making everyone else happy and feeling good. That's how
Joann was and that's how Mary Denise is."
Stevens, who owns Ames Textile Corp. in Lowell, was honored for helping
Challenge Unlimited purchase Ironstone Farm, a process that began in
the late 1990s. Crocker was honored in part for his advocacy on behalf
of children with Down syndrome.
Ironstone Farm, now with 18 acres, hosts about 450 riding clients a
week, most of whom have a disability.
Through riding and a personal connection with its horses, Challenge
Unlimited helps children and adults from more than 90 cities and towns
throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire work toward improving physical
and emotional conditions.
Street - Andover, MA 01810 978-475-4056
Copyright © 2009 Challenge Unlimited