...to enrich the lives of families with special needs children
through customized therapeutic experiences
Sunday, October 9th, 2005
The crowd at the Matthew Allen Potter Memorial Golf Tournament’s dinner party in September gave a rousing round of applause to the family with the little girl suffering from Alfi’s Syndrome.
It seemed Allie Yahnke, 10, of Red Lion, had been doing some fundraising of her own for Leg Up Farm, the all-inclusive therapy project for children with disabilities, which the annual golf tournament benefits.
Zippy’s Crusade for Kids recently gave Leg Up Farm $5,500 in honor of Allie, an emcee told the crowd at the Country Club of York.
The crusade, established by Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, raises money for children’s charities.
Last year, Allie’s grandmother, Mary Yahnke, wrote to Zipadelli and told him about her granddaughter who has Alfi’s, also known as 9P-, which causes physical and mental delays, and also about the Leg Up Farm project.
The response was an invitation to the Yahnkes to attend Zippy’s fundraising snowmobile race in Inlet, N,Y., where Mary Yahnke lives.
Allie’s mother, Penny Yahnke, said she was pleased at the donation.
”I was very excited – hopefully, that’s going to be one step further for them to get it up and running,” Penny Yahnke said of Leg Up Farm.
Since 1997, Lou Castriota, Jr., a general sales manager at a Baltimore television station, has been raising money to build the 110,000-square-foot facility in East Manchester Township.
And for the last seven years, he’s been lobbying Gov. Ed Rendell to release $4.56 million in capital redevelopment assistance funds for Leg Up Farm, about half of what Castriota needs to complete the project.
Castriota developed the idea for Leg Up Farm when he began seeking various therapies for his daughter Brooke, and soon realized it would be easier for both the patient and their parents if an entire range of therapies were available under one roof.
Brooke, now 9, suffers from mitochondrial disease, a disease similar to cerebral palsy. She and Allie have been in the same special needs classes for many years, Castriota said.
Penny Yahnke said her family has also experienced piecemeal therapy sessions that motivated Castriota.
She said another benefit of an all-inclusive therapy center is that the therapists will be able to communicate with each other on their mutual patients far easier now that they will be working at the same facility.
”You may be able to do two therapies back-to-back,” she said.
Castriota said he appreciated the Yahnke’s support over the years and their creativity in bringing about the donation from Zippy’s Crusade for Kids.
”They really, as a family, just see the value that Leg Up Farm can add to their lives,” he said.
By TED CZECH, The York Daily Record/Sunday News