Horse show to benefit paralyzed Pasadena rider

NEIGHBORS

April 20, 2001|By Peg Adamarczyk | Peg Adamarczyk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ON A BRIGHT afternoon late in September, daily life for a local family was forever changed when a mother and her two daughters engaged in a sport they loved - riding at a Mountain Road stable.

Linda Leonard Simmont, 47, was with daughters Jesse, 13, and Alexis, 11, when she fell from her bucking horse in the riding ring. In the blink of an eye, Linda Simmont was transformed from average working wife and mother into a quadriplegic.

Six months later, after stints at Maryland Shock Trauma Center and several rehabilitation hospitals, Linda came home to begin a new life.

"She can move her head, but that's about all," said Charlene McCraith, a family friend and horse lover. "Linda's quick mind and her sense of humor are still there, but daily life for her husband, Gary, and her daughters has radically changed."

Because of her spinal cord injury, Linda requires almost full-time professional medical care, special equipment and supplies, and a long list of items just to keep her comfortable at home - not to mention items that would assist her in trying to resume a regular life.

Health insurance covers a portion of her needs, but the estimated annual expenses over and above the family's coverage is $50,000 to $75,000.

"The demand on her family is scary at times; I can't even imagine the courage it takes," McCraith said.

To help Linda and her family with rising medical costs, the local riding community and several community groups have scheduled fund-raisers to benefit Linda's life fund. "We are committed to help Linda and her family however we can," McCraith said.

The first event, a schooling horse show, is scheduled for Sunday at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Crownsville, sponsored by the Pasadena Horse & Pony Association.

Because she and Linda have been members of the association, McCraith said, a show in the sport they love seemed a good way to "bring attention to Linda's fight for a new way of life."

The show will begin at 9 a.m., with warm-up time for horses and riders from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.

Six ribbons will be awarded in each class - English, western, hunter, English pleasure, western pleasure, western speed, lead line, and open trail.

The entry fee is $5 per class, and for warm-up time $1 per ride. The show will be run under the rules of the Maryland 4-H horse and pony program.

Donated items will be auctioned, and food and refreshments will be on sale at the show ring. Spectators are welcome.

Information: McCraith at 410-255-8780.

Other fund-raising events include:

A pancake breakfast sponsored by members of the Lake Shore Rotary Club, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. April 28 at Mount Carmel United Methodist Church, 4760 Mountain Road.

Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children.

A basket bingo from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 29 at the Lake Shore fire hall, 4498 Mountain Road. Tickets are $12 in advance, and $15 at the door if available. The doors will open at 2 p.m., and food and refreshments will be sold.

Tickets: Laura Adams at 410-437-9354 or Carol Itter, 410-255-7226.

Family spokesman Helen Leonard, Linda's sister-in-law, said the community's positive response to Linda's life fund has been wonderful.

"Linda and Gary grew up and went to school in Pasadena; they have lived here in the community and raised their family here," she said. "It has been a great experience for the whole family, meeting so many new, caring people."

Donations or information: 410-255-1434.

Children's safety event

Take the children for a free lunch at the Lake Shore fire hall and pick up pointers on summer safety at the third annual Kids Safety Day, being presented by the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Co. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Nearly a dozen local government and community service agencies are participating in the event, providing information on aspects of indoor and outdoor safety.

Deb Conklin, Lake Shore spokeswoman, said local support for the event has been encouraging. "We feel that it is important to continue sponsoring this event for everyone in the community," she said.

Agencies taking part include the county Police Department, with information on crime prevention; the state Department of Natural Resources, on water safety and safety vests; the county Health Department, on playground safety and good nutrition for all ages; Buster the School Bus, with tips for precautions on school buses; and the county's Fire Safety House, with tours and tips on fire prevention.

A free lunch will be available to children, several door prizes will be awarded and raffle tickets for boys and girls bicycles will be sold.

Parking is available at Lake Shore Elementary School, 4531 Mountain Road, where a shuttle bus will be available.

Tina Brown is the chairwoman of this year's Safety Day event.

Information: 410-255-9083.

Park fishing derby

Pasadena Sportfishing Group is sponsoring its annual kids fishing derby from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at Lake Waterford Park. The park is at Pasadena Road and Baltimore & Annapolis Boulevard.

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