Isn’t she lovely? A pony tale.

Long legged foal

This photo popped up in my messages yesterday. Is there anything more lovely than a long legged foal? Perhaps only the reason it was sent to me.

In the winter of 2009 Zoe was facing six weeks of radiation in addition to chemo. She had already had surgery to insert a Mic-Key button into her stomach so that she could be fed via a tube, since they anticipated the radiation would damage her throat to the point she would not be able to eat until it healed sometime after the six weeks ended.

We created a radiation chart with stickers on it for every day completed (including a general anaesthetic each day), and at the end of each week there was a reward. Zoe thought a pony ride would be a great reward. How was I going to organise that?

I reached out to an online community of mums that I was part of. I had never met a single one of them. One of the mums responded immediately, she had a miniature horse called Butterscotch that Zoe could ride.

So the second weekend after her radiation began we made the trek out to Ardmore, getting only a little lost on the way. It was lovely to meet my online friend in real life. She had Butterscotch all saddled up and ready to go. We popped Zoe on and she was led down the driveway and back just once before she decided it was enough. The radiation had left her very tired and the trip down and vomiting (also radiation induced) had left her exhausted. Nonetheless it was a precious memory for her, and for us.

Zoe riding butterscotch

Fast forward to the week we found out Zoe’s cancer had relapsed and was terminal. We were sent home with the support of the palliative care team and the advice to make as many memories with Zoe as we could in the time we had left.

Once again my friend offered a pony ride and this time the pony came to Zoe. We invited some of her little friends. It was a beautiful spring morning and they each took turns being led up the street on the pony while the others all trailed behind as if after the pied piper. The grin never left Zoe’s face.

Zoe riding a pony

Copyright Nykie Grove-Eades

So how does this all lead to to the photo of a foal in my messages? Although we have seen each other only a few times over the years, my friend with the pony has been incredibly supportive to me and I hope I have been to her. I believe her generosity in arranging the pony rides for Zoe embody the spirit of The Angel Zoe Kindness Project.

I know that Zoe has touched my friend’s heart profoundly. So when Butterscotch had a foal last month, it seemed to her that the perfect name was Princess Zoe. So here she is, in all her long legged glory.

Princess Zoe Foal 2

(Those who attended Zoe’s funeral will know that the title of this blog is also the title of the Stevie Wonder song we played at the beginning of her funeral)

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