Monthly Archives: August 2014

Therapeutic Riding Institute: a cause close to Dr. Hughes’ heart

Just imagine being locked in your body, unable to get it to do what you want. For children and adults with special needs, for veterans and youth at risk, Therapeutic Riding Institute (TRI) uses the healing power of the horse to help unlock the mind and body.

Dr. Ed Hughes, a radiation oncologist at First Dayton CyberKnife, recalls, “I began my career in pediatric oncology, so I have seen first-hand how, children especially, respond to the power of touch and the benefits of movement. The combination of caring touch and fluid movement that occurs while on the horse helps these riders bridge the gap and make the connection between mind and body.” These benefits carry over into everyday life for TRI’s students. Many TRI riders have breakthroughs during their riding lessons that they have not been able to accomplish during traditional therapy sessions.

“Miracles happen in our arena every day,” says TRI’s Executive Director Marleen Milkis.

“As our first scholarship donor, Dr. Hughes helped TRI provide classes to families who could otherwise not participate due to financial strain. These students who may be suffering from autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, Down Syndrome, pervasive development disorder or other special needs, have received therapeutic benefits through the healing power of the horse, allowing them to achieve individual physical and emotional goals,” says Milkis. Through the generous support of donors like Dr. Hughes, TRI grew from serving 89 people in 2011 to 120 in 2014 and the outlook for 2015 is even greater. TRI uses over 200 volunteers to help facilitate their programs.

“I feel it’s my duty to give back. What I love about TRI is I know that the money that I give is going directly to help these children and adults,” says Hughes.

“The scholarship money is only used to pay for their therapeutic riding sessions and nothing else. Every time I see TRI in action, I know that I am a part of the amazing work being done here. I can really see it in the student’s faces. They light up when they are around the horses. It is sheer joy. ”

Dr. Hughes will have an opportunity to see these faces again at the August 23rd FriendRaiser for TRI. This event is the signature fundraiser for this 41 year old organization. This year’s theme is “Rhinestones and Cowboys”.

Learn more about the Therapeutic Riding Institute.

Turning tragedy of cancer into a mission of hope

A cancer survivor from Springboro turned his tragedy into a special mission of hope for other survivors.


Dave and Diane Scharff with Buzz and Chloe.

Dave Scharff was diagnosed with stage II cancer of the tonsil on Christmas Eve 2009. This avid motorcyclist and investment manager underwent surgery and 6 weeks of radiation therapy. Dave says, “my life was abruptly interrupted. It was very scary to be diagnosed with the “C” word. However, I have a strong faith and was supported by friends and family. I was also surprised by the support I received from my medical team at First Dayton Cancer Care. The way they cared for me gave me true hope that I would be alright.” This support changed his life and the lives of others.

Dave says that during his weeks of radiation treatment “God planted a vision in my heart for a cancer ministry that would support individuals and families dealing with this disease.” As a result CancerHope at SouthBrook Christian Church was born.

To date, this ministry has used over 250 volunteers to serve more than 200 survivors through prayers, cards, meals and gifts. These survivors are from 15 different states and many are not members of the church. This mission is to serve all cancer survivors and to support their caregivers regardless of any religious affiliation.

Dave knows that the love and support he received during his treatment were a big part of his recovery. “It impacted me by the way they genuinely cared for me as an individual and about what I was going through. It was different than going to a doctor’s office where the employees approach their work just as a job. I still have a genuine affinity for everyone at First Dayton Cancer Care.”


Dave with the SouthBrook Cancer Hope team at the annual Cancer Crush 5K event to support the mission.

His advice for anyone with cancer is “to surround yourself with positive people. Find an experienced medical team that offers genuine care and enjoys their work. Allow your friends and family to help carry this burden with you. You can’t do this alone. Seek out the support you need.” CancerHope is the perfect example. Sometimes just knowing that someone out there is thinking about you can have a big impact on your heart and give you the hope you need.”