(FOX 2) - Runners will be taking off in Wixom on Saturday morning for the city's Derby Days celebration and this year a portion of the entrance fees will be donated to an organization who spreads the healing power of horses.
Camp Casey started in Michigan in 2004, bringing horses right to the houses of children with cancer or rare blood disorders.
"Camp Casey has several programs that we offer but our most famous and unique is called Horsey House Calls, and this is where we take a horse to the homes of kids who probably can't leave home, or maybe they're in a health situation where they can't go to camp like their peers. We bring camp right to their doorstep," said Molly Reeser, founder and executive director of Camp Casey.
Since then, they've helped 10,515 kids through their Horsey House Calls, Cowboy Campouts and Outlaw Outings.
"It was really fun. It was the first time I'd ridden a horse in a long time, and it was a trail ride so it was amazing," said Alyssa Leighton, a volunteer. "I wanted to go faster and they were like, whoa... slow down."
At 18 years old, Alyssa is currently on maintenance chemo with one year left of that. She was once a recipient of Camp Casey's work; she now volunteers for the organization. Going through it herself, she connects with the other kids on a different level.
"I feel like not talking about it, they can just feel it. Like one girl I connected with really well and she just knew, she was like, oh I know you've been through something," she said.
This year, the City of Wixom is teaming up with the group. A portion of the registration fees from this year's Derby Day will be donated to Camp Casey.
"For each registration $5 will go toward Camp Casey because what we do then is we're able to sponsor one of their Horsey House Calls. Last year, we were able to sponsor two of them, so this year of curse we want to be able to sponsor more," said Melanie Cheney, a member of Wixom DDA.
Helping support kids with cancer and rare blood disorders, well, that goes together like horses at the derby.
"When we knock on that door and it opens and that child is standing there, there's a variety of reactions," Reeser said. "Surprise is probably the most common and no matter what everybody just has a really great time and it's an opportunity for the whole community and the whole neighborhood to really come together to support that family."
There will be horses from Camp Casey at Derby Days in Wixom on Saturday. If you'd like to learn more about the organization check out Campcasey.org. Or you can come to downtown Wixom for the Derby Day celebration. FOX 2's Derek Kevra will emcee the event.