Foundation Funds New Facility Dog at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

By Morgan Steward*

Therapist Kirsten Ondich with Kentucky and the Foundations' check

Therapist Kirsten Ondich with Kentucky and the Foundations’ check

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital has a new therapist roaming its halls. Kentucky, a 70-pound labrador and golden retriever mix, has arrived at the facility as a gift from the Casey Feldman and Anapol Weiss Foundation, who are long-time supporters of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.

Kentucky is a “facility dog,” which differs greatly from a traditional therapy dog. Whereas therapy dogs are used to boost the overall moral of patients and provide emotional support, facility dogs are highly skilled and trained animals who assist patients in completing daily tasks. For two years, Kentucky trained at Canine Companions for Independence where he learned how to turn on lights, open and close doors, take off someone’s shoes and socks, and even pick a credit card up from the floor.

This is the third facility dog that the Foundation has sponsored. The first, Ford, was sponsored in 2012, followed by Joey a few years later. The idea to sponsor an animal arose out of Casey’s love for service and animals. Casey understood how important an animal’s unconditional love was in the lives of others, especially those experiencing difficult times.

The patients who Kentucky assists at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital are recovering from strokes, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and amputations. According to Kirsten Ondich, occupational therapist and Kentucky’s handler, having a furry friend around provides patients with extra incentive to exercise more frequently while also doing more reps of each exercise.

The Foundation has head a special relationship with Magee for several years now. For the past four years, the Foundation has honored the anniversary of Casey’s death with a day of volunteer service there.  Every “angelversary” thus far has combined Casey’s love for animals with her desire to serve in some manner—the first two years of service took place at the Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals in Radnor, Pennsylvania. This coming year, all are invited to join Foundation supporters to volunteer at Providence Animal Shelter in Media, PA on July 16th.

Related Link:

 Stacey Burling, “Magee Rehab’s new facility dog makes even therapy fun.”,  14 April 2017

Previous Casey Feldman Foundation articles about Magee and the Foundation sponsored facility dogs

Spinal cord injury patient, Elizabeth Gomez learning to move forward and sit back

Spinal cord injury patient, Elizabeth Gomez tosses Kentucky a ball as she leans to move forward and sit back


morgan steward*Morgan Steward is a sophomore Communication and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (Casey’s alma mater). Born in Beaumont, TX, she to moved to New York City to pursue a career in the media. She is the Arts & Culture Co-Editor of The Observer, Fordham’s student newspaper (where Casey was the News Editor).

My Friend, Casey – How the Foundation Has Honored Her Love of Animals

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Casey & Nikki, 2008

Casey & Nikki, 2008

Casey's brother Brett & his friends painting - Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, 2010

Casey’s brother Brett & his friends painting – Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, 2010

Casey's friends insulating the attic at Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, 2011

Casey’s friends insulating the attic at Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, 2011

A stroke victim at Magee working on his motor skills as he brushes Joey's teeth

A stroke victim at Magee working on his motor skills as he brushes Joey’s teeth, 2014

Jenna Schein (R) helping an injured screech owl at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary

Jenna Schein (R) helping an injured screech owl at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, 2014

By Rachael Kemmey*

On the day of Casey’s fifth “angelversary,” a friend said to me, “I can’t believe it’s already been five years, can you?” My answer, although contradictory, was both yes and no. Yes, it is unfathomable that one thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven days have passed since the last time I saw my friend. How have five years already come and gone without her here? Yet, at the same time, it feels like a lifetime since I’ve seen Casey. Every day without her feels long. I was at a loss trying to explain how time could move both fast and slow; perhaps, there is no way to understand this feeling, unless you were blessed with knowing Casey.

Five is also the number of years that Casey’s family and friends have been working to make a difference through The Casey Feldman Foundation. The Foundation honors Casey’s life and memory by keeping Casey’s passion for helping others alive and by supporting many causes that were near and dear to Casey’s heart. One of those is her unconditional love for animals.

Growing up, Casey had numerous pets; everything from chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and horses, to fish, lizards, hermit crabs and turtles. Of course, there were also dogs and cats. The Feldman family always had one dog and usually four cats at a time, all rescues. Casey was a proud member of PETA, among various other organizations, and was a strong advocate for adoption of strays. While studying at Fordham University in New York City, Casey volunteered at Animal Haven, a no-kill shelter. Casey walked the dogs and simply spent time with them as well as with the cats, assisting in their socialization and making them feel comfortable and loved.

It is gratifying to look back over the last five years and see how The Casey Feldman Foundation, among its multitude of endeavors, has also sought to honor Casey’s love of animals.

Every year on Casey’s “angelversary,” the Foundation conducts a day of service; every day of service over the last five years has incorporated animals. On the first “angelversary,” approximately forty volunteers worked at Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, a no-kill shelter located in Radnor, Pennsylvania. The entire interior of the shelter was painted in the course of a day. The following year, volunteers returned to Francisvale and worked on building a new outdoor play area for the dogs, cleaning up the grounds and insulating the attic. The last three “angelversaries” were spent at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the Foundation established the first Facility Dog Program in 2012. Joey, a Labrador Retriever and Ford, a Golden Retriever were sponsored by the Foundation. Ford and Joey are specially trained health and human services “professionals” who support patients in their therapy and facilitate the rehabilitation process (watch the TV news video below).

In addition to incorporating animals into the annual day of service, the Foundation also directly supports local shelters through grants. Most recently, the Foundation sponsored the Casey Feldman Foundation Spay and Neuter Day at Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR). As a result, five animals were neutered, a procedure which drastically cuts down on the number of animals euthanized in the United States each year. In addition, the Foundation also sponsored Helga at MLAR, a German Shepard who had spent the previous 5 years of her life in a hutch at a puppy mill and was in desperate need of medical care; she was a “spinner” as a result of her confinement and had tried to rip off her own tail. The Foundation’s grant saved Helga’s life. In order to help MLAR with their training program, the Foundation also donated funds for the “Casey Cam.” Since its installation, the camera has provided trainers with an opportunity to track each animal’s progress.

Spay/Neuter Day at MLAR

Dr. Meg Anderson (R) and her assistant, Spay/Neuter Day at MLAR, 2014

In addition, various scholarship programs that the Foundation has funded have benefited animals. Our 2012 PIIE recipient, Dylan Mark, interned for the summer at the Boulder Valley Humane Society. Computer science major Lauren McDermott from Villanova University received a stipend to provide much needed IT services to Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, revamping and updating their website in 2011. Our Alternative Spring Break program has also impacted animals – Erica Durbin spent her spring break volunteering at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in 2011 and this past spring,  Jennah Schein volunteered her week off working at  Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in NC. Of course, all the various Alternative Spring Break scholarship recipients who spent their week working in some form of environmental conservation all had a positive impact on wildlife.

In the upcoming years, the Foundation looks forward to continuing to honor Casey’s love of animals through supporting existing programs  and establishing new ones.

Please help us to continue our good work and donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation. All of our furry friends out there will be deeply indebted for your your support.

Watch the CBS Philadelphia news video about the Foundation’s sponsorship of Magee’s first facility therapy dog, Ford, 2012:

View the video from the 2013 Day of Service:

Related Links:

All Foundation news articles related to our efforts to honor Casey’s love of animals – includes photos, videos, media coverage, links, etc.

All photos from the annual July 17th “Angelversary” Day of Service, 2010 – 2014

A listing of all scholarships and grants from 2010 – 2014,  with links,

All Foundation articles regarding scholarships, grants and recipients



Rachael (R) & Casey

Rachael (R) & Casey

*Rachael Kemmey grew up with Casey in Springfield, PA and remained one of Casey’s best friends. Rachael is currently an attorney practicing in Delaware County, PA.

Casey Feldman Foundation Sponsors Spay/Neuter Day & More at Animal Shelter

Friday, June 6th, 2014

By Dianne L. Anderson

Casey had a kind heart, and that kind heart extended not just to humans, but to animals as well.  Among its many endeavors, the Casey Feldman Foundation has sought to honor Casey’s love for  animals in numerous ways. The most recent is a grant to Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR), through which  a Casey Feldman Foundation Spay/Neuter Day  has been scheduled for this Wednesday, June 11, 2014. As a result of this grant, four to five animals will be spayed and neutered.

Funds from this grant have also supported, Helga, a dog in need of medical care and will establish the “Casey Cam”, a camera installed in the training room to facilitate training classes and further volunteer education of animal training. Casey’s long time friend from Springfield, PA, Rachael Kemmey, who volunteers her time with the Foundation, organized this event and the distribution of funds with MLAR.

Casey's friend, Rachael Kemmey, greets some of the many animals at MLAR in Jan. while touring the facility with Casey's parents

Why spay and neuter? Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. – and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually (The Humane Society of the United States).  This sad and enormous number is as a result of un-spayed and un-neutered animals. One un-spayed female dog and one un-neutered male dog and their offspring can produce 4,372 puppies in 7 years. For cats it is even worse. One un-spayed female cat and one un-neutered male cat and their offspring results in 420,000 kittens in 7 years.

Helga - beautiful, but not happy wearing a cone!

Often, these animals arrive at MLAR and other shelters in need of medical care that goes beyond the basic and routine. Helga is just one of those animals.

A 5 year old German Sheppard who was rescued from a puppy mill, Helga had spent the previous 5 years in a rabbit hutch. She tried to rip off her own tail, which unfortunately had to be removed by the veterinary staff at MLAR. Helga was a spinner, commonly seen in dogs from puppy mills who have been confined in hutches; they spin for stimulation and to self soothe. Because Helga continued to spin after her surgery, trying to get to her absent tail, she was kept in a cone for an extended period of time. Helga was treated with several medications and has worked with a dedicated volunteer to help her gain the confidence needed to overcome her issues. After spending many weeks in the clinic under the watchful eyes of the MLAR medical staff, Helga is now in the main kennel and doing very well. It is not surprising that Helga enjoys exercise, something that was absent in the first 5 years of her life.

A limited number of supporters of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation who are animal lovers are invited to attend the event on Wednesday. The schedule is as follows:

Agenda for June 11:

Helga after her surgery

10:00 am – Representatives from the Casey Feldman Foundation arrive at the medical clinic

10:00am – 12:00pm

 Dr. Meg and Megan Anderson (Director of Animal Welfare and Enrichment) will introduce the animals before they go into surgery and share their stories.

 Clinic staff will share additional stories about the other animals currently in the clinic.

 Photos as appropriate

 Bring Helga down from the kennel for a visit.

 12:00pm – lunch will be provided in the development conference room

Spaces are limited. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by Monday, June 8, 2014 by sending an email to [email protected]

3 of the 4 of Casey's and the Feldman's rescued cats

Please consider making a donation to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation so that we may continue our good work in Casey’s memory.

One of the cat lounges at MLAR








Join Us: July 17, 2013, Day of Service at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on Casey’s 4th “Angelversary”

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Casey Feldman

This year’s day of service for Casey Feldman’s  fourth “Angelversary” will take place at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, 1513 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. It has become an annual event on the anniversary of Casey’s death to perform a day of service in her honor and memory. Since Casey was an animal lover and animal rights advocate, the service thus far has included this aspect of her many passions.

Through the support of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, Magee  established its first Facility Dog program, in 2012, adding a new official member to the Magee team, Ford, the Golden Retriever.

This year, the Casey Feldman Foundation, together with Anapol Schwartz (Casey’s dad, Joel’s law firm), has sponsored Magee’s  second therapy dog, Joey, a Labrador Retriever/ Golden Retriever mix. “Anapol Schwartz has supported so many of our activities following Casey’s death and we are so appreciative of that support”, said Joel.

Through Magee’s Facility Dog program, Joey works alongside trained health and human service professionals to support patients in their therapy and facilitate the rehabilitation process. This program will be recognized as part of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation’s fourth annual “Angelversary” Day of Service.

Casey's brother, Brett, meeting Joey at Magee in May

Family, friends and supporters of Casey and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation are invited to provide a few hours of service at Magee  and watch Joey in action as he leads patients in therapy sessions.  Service projects for the morning include filing, weeding the gardens, cleaning the parking lot and cleaning windows.  A lunch time ceremony will  take place at 12:30 pm and  the day will conclude at 2:00 pm.

Please RSVP by Monday, July 15th to join us on July 17th  at Casey Feldman Network Event or to Dianne Anderson, Casey Feldman’s mom, at 610-659-6995, or [email protected] or on Dianne’s Facebook Event.

Related Links:

[email protected], July 16, 2013: Because of Casey: Magee’s Facility Dog Program

CBS News Coverage 2012: Health: Dog Therapy To Honor Casey,

Previous articles regarding the annual “Day of Service”

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

The Anapol Schwartz Foundation


Casey’s Love of Animals Will Make a Difference for Patients at Local Rehabilitation Hospital

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012


Casey loved animals, especially dogs. She understood how a dog’s unconditional love could make a difference in the lives of people. Casey also valued service-reaching out to help others.

Continuing the tradition of performing service on the anniversary of Casey’s death, on July 17th about forty of Casey’s friends and family gathered at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia and performed clean up services and work in the greenhouse and gardens, and learned about the latest gift from the Casey Feldman Foundation.

Magee showed off the talents of the newest member of its renowned occupational therapy team, Ford. Ford is an 8 year old Golden Retriever who is a highly trained facility therapy dog, the first in Magee’s history.   Support for Ford was provided by the Casey Feldman Foundation.

Mike Monheit (L) and Casey’s father, Joel Feldman performing cleanup work at Magee

Ford will work with patients recovering from strokes, spinal cord and brain injuries and amputations. Ford helps in all aspects of occupational therapy, including subtly increasing patient’s motivation to work a little harder despite pain. Among an incredible amount of tasks that Ford can perform are taking a patients’ socks off, picking up and delivering  to the patient all kinds of objects, including shoes, opening  and closing cabinets, pulling wheelchairs , turning  on and off lights  and providing  much-needed reassurance and stability for patients attempting their first steps.

“We are incredibly grateful and sincerely honored that the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation chose to remember Casey through the support of this innovative program,” said Jack Carroll, President and CEO of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital. “Animal-assisted therapy is yet another way we can provide our patients with the highest quality care to help them achieve their goals and improve their outcomes, and is something we could not have done without the Foundation’s generous support.”

Casey’s friend, Phil Knasiak beauifying the garden at Magee

During a lunch time ceremony the occupational therapists who work with Ford, Cate Dorr and Christine Rineheimer,  described Ford’s integral role in occupational therapy and said that they were already seeing measurable improvements in patient’s progress who were working with Ford. Some of the patients who had worked with Ford described his gentle and loving presence and said it was comforting to have Ford with them as they began to adapt to new lives following life-altering illnesses and injuries.

Casey’s father, Joel Feldman, said “Magee is a special place where those who have devastating injuries begin to learn that there is a way forward and that there is hope. Having friends and family with us, Ford, and all the other loving and supportive staff at Magee is a perfect way to remember Casey.”

Friends and family gather for a group shot at Magee on July 17th


View photos from the day of service.

Related Links:

Photos from the day of service

CBS TV news coverage 

ABC TV news coverage

Magee Teams With Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation For Facility Dog Program

Not your typical physical therapist,

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital




Casey Feldman July 17, 2012 Day of Service Scheduled at Magee Rehabiltation Hospital

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Ford with his trainers at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

This year’s day of service for Casey Feldman’s third “Angelversary” will take place at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, 1513 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Through the support of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, Magee has established its first Facility Dog program, adding a new official member to the Magee team: Ford, the Golden Retriever. Through Magee’s Facility Dog program, Ford works alongside trained health and human service professionals to support patients in their therapy and facilitate the rehabilitation process. This program will be recognized as part of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation’s third annual “Angelversary” Day of Service.

Family, friends and supporters of Casey and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation are invited to provide a few hours of service and  watch Ford in action as he leads patients in therapy sessions.  A lunch time ceremony will be included.

Read the article posted by Magee about Ford and the upcoming day of service.

Please RSVP to Dianne Anderson, Casey Feldman’s mother at 610-659-6995 or at [email protected].

Casey Feldman Foundation Announces the 2012 Youth Turn It Around Winners

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Turning Adversity into Action, Youth Organizations Make NOYS for Road Safety

 The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) has announced the winners of its second annual Youth – Turn it Around Awards Program. YOUTH-Turn is a program of the National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS®), sponsored by the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation and supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Each year the Youth- Turn It Around Awards recognizes and awards cash prizes to youth organizations that use the YOUTH-Turn resources to turn tragedy into positive action in their schools and communities. (more…)

Turning Adversity Into Action – Foundation Partners With NOYS and Announces YOUTHTurn Winners

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

With funding from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation and support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) launched the first-ever Youth – Turn it Around Awards Program. Recognition and cash prizes went to to youth organizations that utilized the YOUTH-Turn resource and turned tragic adversity into positive action in their schools and communities. The program was launched in May in celebration of National Youth Traffic Safety month and in conjunction with the launching of the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety where Casey’s parents were recognized for their effort in traffic safety. The winners have recently been announced:

Wear Your Seatbelt! –  Youth Organization Receives $5000 Traffic Safety Award

The Howells-Clarkson,  Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Chapter of Howells, Nebraska received the first-place YOUTH-Turn It Around Award of $5000.00. After one of their members was involved in a serious car crash, the FCCLA chapter created a project titled “Wear Your Seat Belt!”. The project addressed the important traffic safety concern of encouraging teen drivers to wear seat belts, and the chapter focused their efforts on educating students, using seat belt surveys, hosting visits from state officials, writing newspaper articles, showcasing artistic displays, and hosting an elementary school poster contest.

The group collaborated with teachers, administrators, local police, county police, the Nebraska State Patrol, and fire and rescue teams. The goal of the chapter was to educate the school and community in an effort to avoid future tragedies. The group administered a seat belt survey before their project and also after their project. Results from the survey after the project indicated that the rate of seat belt use was higher because of their efforts.

Be a Savvy Fox! – College Peer Educators Receive $3000 Traffic Safety Award

The University of Virginia’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) peer educators recently received the second-place YOUTH-Turn it Around Award of $3,000 for their project titled “Be a Savvy Fox!”. They addressed the traffic safety concern of impaired driving on the day of the Foxfield Races steeplechase event near Charlottesville, VA. The group highlighted the problem of the all-day tailgaiting leading to excessive drinking and unfortunate consequences, following a crash  that occurred when a high school student drove after consuming alcohol at the Foxfield Races. After the crash, a survey was given to assess drinking and impaired driving behaviors. Results indicated that drinking and then driving was a major concern during this event.

As part of their campaign, students created media materials, led a social media campaign, and coordinated a student safety tent that provided free water, snacks, sunscreen, and information on race day. They used focus groups to test their messages and products. They also created a pledge campaign and gave out t-shirts to the first 500 students who signed the pledge. Results from their survey at the end of the program indicated that fewer students drove after drinking than in previous years, thanks to the group’s efforts.


Students Can Celebrate Without Drugs or Alcohol – Youth Organization Receives $2000 Traffic Safety Award

Students in the SADD (Students Against Destructive Behavior) chapter at Easthampton High School of Easthampton, Massachusetts recently received the third-place $2,000 YOUTH-Turn It Around Award for their efforts in reducing teen driving fatalities. After experiencing two tragedies in the last four years as a result of poor decision making on the part of both parents and teens related to alcohol use, the chapter decided to take action.

Students worked to conduct two social norms marketing campaigns where both high school seniors and their parents were asked a series of survey questions. Several of the answers to the questions were made into posters that were distributed at different times during the month of May. Messages included “96% of seniors believe that they would not get into a car with someone who has been drinking after the prom” and “Easthampton seniors believe that they can have fun at the prom without drugs or alcohol” and “8 out of 10 Easthampton seniors strongly believe that graduation night can be celebrated fully without drugs or alcohol”.

Posters with information from the parent survey were also displayed in the school, around the community, and on two billboards by the two main entrances to the community. Students also completed a sticker shock campaign, helped with compliance checks, and organized a health fair with interactive activities. After the events, one student wrote a letter to the school administration, asking that they help stop alcohol abuse by having a breathalizer at the prom. Other students supported the letter writer and provided their own ideas to help. As a result of the SADD chapter’s efforts, the community also created a substance abuse prevention task force, with students serving on the task force.


Related Posts and Links:

–  Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson Recognized at Launching of the Decade of Action for Road Safety in Washington, D.C.

–  U.S. DOT  Faces of Distracted Driving Casey Feldman Video

–  NOYS Youth Turn YouTube video featuring Casey’s friends talking about the loss of Casey and turning adversity into something positive

–  Phi Sigma Pi Delivers Check to NOYS at the Launching of the Decade of Action for Road Safety in D.C.

–  Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation to Sponsor NOYS

–  NOYS YOUTH-Turn – End Distracted Driving website sponsored by Casey Feldman Foundation