Dying woman forced to give up passion, but community helps her enjoy it one last time

Are you an animal lover?

For many of us, the animal companions we have throughout our lives play a very important role to us. They are loyal, kind and comforting in situations of extreme stress. They grow old with us just as we do with them. Though many of us have bonded with cats and dogs in our lives, there’s something particularly special about the relationships some us are lucky to have with horses.

As we get older, however, those relationships change.

Nelly Jacobs was 87-years-old and suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Like many ailments of its kind, Parkinson’s is a gradually debilitating illness which can cause tremors, stiffness, slow movement and impaired balance as its victims get older. For Jacobs, who had struggled with the illness for over 30 years, this meant that she had to stop her beloved hobby of horse jumping as it was too dangerous.

Still, Jacobs wanted to ride a horse again.

Fortunately, a group in the Netherlands called Hidden Desires was ready to fulfill her wish.

Hidden Desires is a joint effort shared between Green Cross and The Care Group , two charities which provide helpful services to those struggling with disabilities and other serious health issues. The challenge was how to get Jacobs safely on top of the horse while still experiencing the feeling of a horseback ride.

The team at Hidden Desires was up to the challenge.

With the help of a special carriage, Jacobs’ dream was made possible.

The Hidden Desires team carefully lowered Jacobs onto a bed suspended over the backs of two horses, all in an enclosed carriage-like structure. Once she was safely secured, the team was off to the races. For Jacobs, Parkinson’s disease sometimes makes it hard to do clear facial expressions or to express emotions.

Still, she had no difficulty showing how happy she was that day.

Thanks to the good Samaritans at Hidden Desires, Jacobs had the time of her life.

As a youth, Jacobs had competed in equestrian competitions and had done well for herself. Having those experiences taken away from her was as hard as any of the other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. When she finally got to feel the horses moving underneath her again, she was beyond grateful.

For those who watch the video, Jacobs’ smile truly says it all!

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