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

 

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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.

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, Philly.com

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].