After Kathleen Lang’s only child, Becky, died in a tragic car accident in 2005 on her way to college in California, she was left empty and defeated before friends cheered her on to create a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting horse owners in times of struggle. .
Becky was a competitive equestrian, lifelong animal lover and aspiring archaeologist known for her kindness, passion and desire to help people, Lang said of her daughter. The organization, Becky’s Gift, helps carry on her daughter’s legacy.
“It’s really in memory of Becky, but it’s also a shining example of the life Becky lived and how she behaved,” Lang said. “I’m honored to be able to carry on this tradition for her and I know she has always been with me.”
In times of financial hardship or life-changing tragedy, horse owners can contact the nonprofit for short-term financial assistance with medication, grain, hay, and veterinary and grooming services, Lang said. Since its foundation in 2007, the association has helped hundreds of people keep their animals in times of struggle.
Last summer, after getting divorced and battling COVID-19, Victoria LaPointe crashed her motorcycle and couldn’t afford the farrier’s cost to cut her horses’ hooves and fit shoes, she said. declared. At 30, she had to consider giving up her 17-year-old horse to pay for her medical and living expenses.
“Becky’s Gift paid for her feet and paid for her food for a month until I could get back to work and get back on my feet,” LaPointe said. “I knew he was in pain and there was nothing I could do about it, and there was such a sense of relief knowing my horse would be taken care of.”
Once recovered and back to work, LaPointe made a donation to Becky’s Gift to reimburse them for the time and hours spent helping her horse, and will continue to donate in the future.
Funding for the non-profit organization comes from donations and the sale of new and gently used equestrian supplies, Becky’s Gift Saddlery, which operates on the ground floor of the Andover Community Centre.
“People are very generous in going there to donate and buy things; it sustained us,” Lang said. “One hundred percent goes to Becky’s Gift and they knew it when they bought and gave.”
Over the past few months, calls for help have increased, Lang said. As hay prices double and vets increase their rates, the nonprofit is doing what it can to help, and vet and grooming specialists have volunteered their time to maintain services.
“They came in twice for a specialist evaluation,” said Janice Lalmond, whose horse is dealing with terminal hoof disease similar to degenerative arthritis. “In the spring, I almost knocked him down. I reached out and the specialist and farrier came out and were able to come up with a shoeing solution.
Now he is doing very well, she said.
“I’ve known Kathy for several years and love that she thinks of the horse first,” Lalmond continued. “I would have had to put it down if it wasn’t for her and I wouldn’t have known about shoeing options or medications.”
Like many horse owners, Lang’s horses continued to support her emotionally through her struggles and gave her purpose when she could not find one on her own.
“They’re a support animal,” Lang said. “This horse can help you through this tragedy. My horses did this for me.
Managing the nonprofit helped Lang heal, she said. She often feels Becky’s presence and advice in the files and clients she takes care of.
“Becky works directly; when she sees there’s a need, she responds to it,” Lang said. “I am happy to do something positive for others and to have Becky guide me on this journey.”
To further honor Becky, a graduate of Bow High School and the University of New Hampshire, Lang created an endowment for UNH archeology students. Lang receives two letters a year from students who have traveled to dig sites around the world and shared their experiences.
While at UNH, Becky traveled to Belize, Bolivia, and Guatemala where she assisted her archeology professor William Saturno at various Mayan dig sites. In Guatemala, Saturno had previously discovered an ancient mural on the walls of a room under an unexcavated Mayan pyramid, which was featured in National Geographic magazine.
Becky worked in the Murals Room and recorded and traced the sky band portion of the mural for her senior thesis, “Contextualizing Cosmology in the Pre-Classic: Interpreting the San Bartolo Sky Band.”
Saturno wanted her to take over as director after graduating from the University of California, where she received a full scholarship to pursue a doctorate in Mayan studies.
It was on her way, while driving through New Mexico at night, that a rabbit hit the road and Becky crashed while trying to drive around it.
“I always told him if an animal hit the road, don’t swerve,” Lang said. “But she was an organ donor, and I don’t know how many lives she saved, but she wanted to. She was beautiful inside and out.
To donate to Becky’s Gift or learn more about the nonprofit’s mission, visit www.beckysgift.org.
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