...to enrich the lives of families with special needs children
through customized therapeutic experiences
Tuesday, November 14th, 2000
It was just six months after Lou Castriota, Jr. began to think about the need for a comprehensive therapy and rehabilitation center in the county that he received disturbing news.
Brooke, the 6-month-old daughter of Castriota and his wife, Laurie, was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. Although the symptoms vary from patient to patient, they usually include muscle weakness, muscle cramps, loss of balance and coordination, and learning delays.
Since then, Castriota has been on a one-man crusade for the facility, his dream. He’s gathered a board of directors and formed a nonprofit, tax-deductible organization called Leg Up Farm.
Leg Up Farm would be on 100 acres somewhere in York County. It would include a pool complex, adaptive recreational equipment and a specialized sensory playroom.
Castriota hopes to have a variety of therapies available for children, including occupational, physical, speech, sensory play, massage, aquatherapy and hippotherapy. It would be for day treatment only, he said.
“The neat thing about the facility is the different types of therapy,” he said. “We’d be using the team approach, where therapists can share successes and failures with each other.”
For the past 3 1/2 years, the pursuit of his goal has been one of his passions.
He speaks with experts in the field on weekends or during his lunch breaks as an account executive for Fox 45 in Baltimore.
Every now and then he’ll go to a facility in another state to see what they have.
So far, the group has elicited the help of lawmakers in Harrisburg for a grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development worth $62,405. Its purpose is to support operating expenses as well as continue a capital campaign.
The next big step, he said, is finding land. “And then we can move forward to the next step,” Castriota said. “It would be a neat idea for the Horn Farm.”
He envisions not only Leg Up Farm on the site, but also an organic farm and a farm museum as well. The organic farmer Castriota has been working with, Rob Wood of Glen Rock, said the two have had discussions on the idea, but nothing is concrete.
The three-in-one idea, Wood said, “Could be a great service” to the county, he said.
While his idea still has no land, Castriota is still passionate about the project, Wood said.
Castriota, Wood said, “Is an energetic guy who has a lot of feelings for the disabled.”
“He does his homework, which everyone likes about him.”
Despite his passion, Castriota keeps it as far away as he can from his time with his family, according to his wife, Laurie.
“He leaves work at the front door,” she said. “He manages to juggle it all during the day. He really does try to keep family time family time.”
By SCOT D. CELLEY, The York Daily Record