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Helen Woodward Therapeutic Riding client remembers her father by paying it forward

Lizzy Simas and her family
Lizzy Simas and her family presented donations in her father Ronald’s name to San Diego Fire Station 36 and to the San Diego Police Department’s Canine Unit and Widows & Orphans Fund.
(Courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center)

Helen Woodward Animal Center Therapeutic Riding client Lizzy Simas, who lost her father to a heart attack just a few months ago, and her family paid his love forward in a special ceremony held Nov. 20 in the Center’s Humane Education Parking Lot.

The Simas family gave thanks to the first responders who came to her father’s aid and the program that has been instrumental for helping her cope during this time of grief.

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Therapeutic Riding Client Elizabeth “Lizzy” Simas and her riding horse, Jack.
Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Therapeutic Riding Client Elizabeth “Lizzy” Simas and her riding horse, Jack.
(Courtesy)

At a very young age, Lizzy was diagnosed with Legg Calve Perthes Disease, a childhood hip disorder, as well as a seizure disorder. Suffering a childhood stroke and multiple surgical procedures, Lizzy’s challenges have been many. However, Lizzy’s passion for living and her loving parents’ dedication led her to the Center’s Therapeutic Riding Program where she excelled and found true joy.

Devastatingly, her beloved father suffered a sudden heart attack on May 17 this year. Although first responders from San Diego Fire Station 36 arrived on the scene only minutes later, all efforts to resuscitate him failed.

The Simas family gathers for a portrait
The Simas family gathers for a portrait
(Courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center)

Lizzy, her sister Nazare, and their mother Teri decided to pay his love forward. On Lizzy’s 24th birthday, Lizzy requested donations be made to Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Therapeutic Riding Program in her father’s name (Ronald Simas) in lieu of gifts. At the Nov. 20 ceremony, Lizzy and her family presented these donations, along with donations to San Diego Fire Station 36 and to the San Diego Police Department’s Canine Unit and Widows & Orphans Fund, in Ronald’s honor.

Visit animalcenter.org. —News release


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