Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tara Celentano: A great way to give this season

Below is a letter from Tara Celentano that appeared in the November 2008 ESDCTA Newsletter. If you don't know Tara's story I hope you will take a moment read her words:

"Hi My name is Tara Celentano, I am 33 years old and I was a professional horse trainer. On Dec. 27, 2006, I had a catastrophic accident in Florida. While bringing a young horse in from the paddock, he jumped on my back, broke my neck, and now I am a tetraplegic, which means I have no use of my lower extremities. I have minimal control and feeling from my chest to my abdomen and no use of my hands.

Horses were not only my occupation, but also my passion. I had been riding and competing in the horse industry successfully since I was eight years old. In 2001, I met my business partner Roger Roberts and we had a successful business with driving, dressage, and jumper horses. Our specialty was breaking and training horses and placing them in the discipline in which they showed the most potential.

I rode with some of the top dressage trainers including Lars Petersen, Anky Van Grunsven, and Michael Barisone. My dreams and goals were to be a competitive international rider.

As a result of my injury I am doing a fundraiser through the MICHAEL BRUCE FUND as a wish list for myself. I want to go to Germany or China for stem cell therapy so that I can hopefully get some of my mobility back and reduce nerve pain and spacicity. Most of my days are spent in a wheelchair or bed depending on my pain. A wheelchair that I am able to stand up in will reduce pressure sores and relieve chronic back pain, and for weight bearing in my bones.

I would also like to try to raise money through the fundraiser to be able to go back to Florida this year. Unless I am in 75 degree weather or warmer I get nerve pain and muscles in my upper body contract, which is very painful. Last winter was very disappointing, I not only regressed in my therapy but I was housebound as well. This summer I made great progress and now my triceps are responding. I was told when I got injured that my triceps would not work -- I love proving people wrong. Going to Florida will help me tremendously.

The MICHAEL BRUCE FUND continues to help REAL people with REAL needs and provides them hope for an easier tomorrow. These individuals could be your friend, your neighbor, or even one of your own family members. Spinal cord injuries can happen to anyone. One of the ways in which you could help me is to make a donation through the MICHAEL BRUCE FUND which is tax deductible.

Make your check payable to the Michael Bruce Fund and in the note section please write Tara Celentano.Checks can be mailed to Tara Celentano, 193 Stone Hill Road, Colts Neck, NJ 07722 or to the Michael Bruce Fund, PO Box 585, Martinsville NJ 08836. The Michael Bruce Fund donates their time so 100% of the monies for Tara Celentano go to me.

God Bless and thank you for your support.

Tara Celentano

The full text of Tara's letter is available in the Nov. 2008 ESDCTA Newsletter. page 13. Tara is right when she says that this could happen to any of us. I wrote my check for Tara yesterday, and Bob wrote a check this morning (mailed'em together). Please help support Tara in her recovery if you can manage it this holiday season.

More about Tara and the Michael Bruce Fund

Dressage Daily article on Tara Celentano, Dec. 28, 2006

Bruce Fund delivers van

Charitable Fund lives on in memory of Bridgewater-Raritan East student from (May 29, 2008)


  1. Wow. A sobering post. My instructor had a "Chistopher Reeves" fall off a horse several years ago--fractured her C3. She was fortunate to be able to benefit from much of the research done by the Reeves Foundation so the extent of the damage was minimized due to immediate injections of cortisone by the EMTs and she regained most of her mobility with years of rehab. The doctors weren't sure she would ever get out of a wheel chair, but you would never know it to look at her now. She can't ride anymore (equilibrium problems affect her balance), but she can teach.

    Thanks for passing this on. A check will be going out today. There but for the grace of God...

  2. Oh, wow. Thanks for sharing this story!


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