Anna Desimone, author of “Welcome to the Agrihood” recently published a great article in Iconic Life. The article offers a glimpse into the various agrihoods around the country, including Serosun Farms.. A wonderful review of the many options for a healthier, happier lifestyle. Click below to see the full article.
The Fritz Stickland & Family Brain Injury Journey
“July 28, 1997 was the date that changed Fritz, Jane, Alex and Allison Stickland’s lives forever. One single moment in time and place that would alter the course of a marriage, a successful career and a family structure.”
That’s what I remember in the beginning…wishing that there had been just 2 minutes difference that would have changed that near fatal experience where I almost lost my entire family in one horrible car accident. I can still remember arriving home to a dark house after a long day of work and riding my horse. I had an ominous feeling as I entered our home which should have been a flurry of activity with two young children ages 2 and 7 and their father cooking dinner. I still can hear the kids crying in the background on the answering machine as a man at the accident scene was trying to contact me two hours prior. The panic I felt not knowing the condition of my husband and having enough information to know they had been in a very bad accident with a semitrailer. The mental control that was necessary to drive to the hospital safely. Arriving to find my kids with a social worker who desperately needed their Mommy.
I think most people who have experienced the effects of traumatic brain injury to a family member or loved one will always hold those memories of before, during and the new normal after. It is a life changing moment that begins with fear and prayers for survival, wishing it had never happened and then acceptance and hope for the future.
Brain injury is very unique to each survivor as the trauma that occurs is caused by a specific accident and no two events are exactly alike. In Fritz’s case, he and the kids were sitting on a bridge stopped in traffic when a semi traveling too fast in the opposite direction neglected to brake soon enough and jackknifed directly into our Camry at the driver’s side. The truck hit Fritz with such force that he experienced brain sheer and a subdural hematoma. After emergency brain surgery which included removal of dead brain tissue due to the hematoma, it took two weeks before Fritz was stable enough to be sent to Marianjoy for rehabilitation. He had to relearn to sit up, eat, talk, walk and regain the most basic physical and mental capabilities that were second nature in his prior life.
Acute rehabilitation lasted four weeks and he was able to come home while continuing outpatient rehab for another six months. Due to the care and support required to manage Fritz’s recovery, attending to the emotional scars that my young children experienced and managing our home and finances without a partner, I lost my job. Brain injury has many victims. At 39 years of age, Fritz had been a very successful sales professional who sold very technical Cisco networking solutions to CFO’s and CIO’s of various companies. Since that time, he was never able to maintain a job of any kind due to the deficits from his injury. He has to be on several medications to manage his behavior and treat epilepsy caused by scar tissue in his brain. He has been back to Marianjoy for rehabilitation twice due to falls that resulted in additional brain damage.
The family held together through all of this change and created a new life by pursuing a dream that Jane and Fritz had always wanted. They purchased property in Hampshire, IL in 2001 and built their equestrian business called Serosun Farms. Working outside doing farm work and taking care of horses was very therapeutic for all. Giving Fritz a safe place where he could still work in a supportive environment. A happy place for the kids to grow up and thrive.
It has been a long 20 years, but we keep moving forward. Fritz has still maintained a positive attitude despite the limitations he endures. His outgoing personality that made him the life of the party and always the top salesman wherever he worked still remains. His love and knowledge of the NFL has kept him competitive in his Fantasy League as his friends can attest! His children have grown to be compassionate adults who understand the challenges life can bring as they’ve seen their father live with disability.
The reality and challenge for most TBI survivors is financial difficulty. The costs associated with ongoing care, physical rehabilitation, medications, psychiatrists, neurologists, hospitalization, etc. is great and can be overwhelming. Everyone deserves a quality life and we support fund raising for organizations devoted to helping TBI survivors and their families. The more help and rehabilitative support as well as social programs for this population can restore hope, capabilities and happiness. We want to help others to thrive as this has been our life’s work for Fritz.
Thanks for reading our story.
Jane Stickland (Fritz’s wife)
New Equestrian Services coming soon!!
Serosun Farms Equine Services is excited to announce the launch of a new wellness program at Serosun Farms Equestrian Center. Ultimate horse care and welfare has always been the goal for Jane Stickland throughout her forty four year equestrian career.
From managing a barn and show team in high school, to running a horse sales and training business in various locales and in 2001 building the Serosun Farms world class equestrian facility, she has always pursued excellence in horse care and management as the basis for competitive success.
Jane’s experience was focused on hunters and jumpers in the 1970’s, eventing in the 1970’s to 2000 and importing jumpers from Europe since 2001. Her experience in training numerous horses over the years has given her diverse challenges as no two horses are exactly alike in physical and mental capacity. “It’s the old saying of if I had the tools and knowledge that I have now back in the day!” per Jane. “Keeping event horses sound in the old three-day format and jumpers at the low/high/grand prix level requires a lot of knowledge and attention to detail. The technical level that the horses need to reach is the same but the path to get there has to be tailored to the individual horse. These horses are essentially professional athletes and need to be managed accordingly because the availability to continue training is required to reach the upper levels. The more time the horses are sidelined with injuries sets the program back and ultimately can limit how far they go.”
So to get to the crux of what would be ideal is they don’t get injured in the first place. This really applies to all horses, competitive or not because people make the investment to own a horse to enjoy the riding experience and if all your doing is spending money on vet bills, it’s not much fun.
Jane wanted to have success and longevity with her horses in competition but always believed she would inevitably reach those goals if her horses were foremost happy and healthy in their job. So to get to where Serosun Farms Equine Services is today is the constant search for better ways to manage supportive equine therapies that are non-invasive, drug free, stress free, targeted and most effective.
The time has arrived to share the knowledge and expertise we have brought together through our new Cutting Edge Laser Therapy Services (www.celasers.com) and the collaboration of our Equine Wellness partners. The three general pillars that laser therapy provides great benefit to the equine athlete are:
- Accelerate the rehabilitation and healing of many common lameness disorders.
- Maintain the peak performance with any equine athletic discipline.
- Prevent the occurrence or recurrence of athletic injuries.
One of the most important aspects of equine sports medicine includes the maintenance of these athletes at their highest level of performance. Deep-tissue laser therapy is an invaluable tool for this endeavor. All athletes have to endure the rigors of training. This training results in pain and soreness. Periodic therapeutic laser applications allow these equine athletes to recover faster and therefore train more efficiently.
The ability to use laser therapy to prevent injuries is often overlooked or even considered non-efficacious. How important would it be to establish blood flow and elasticity within the tissues of the suspensory tendon, in an equine athlete that is predisposed to stress in this anatomical area, before a competitive event? Deep penetrating laser therapy accomplishes this goal as well as providing muscle tissue therapy to support the joints and keep the horses moving at their optimal level.
An analogy to this application is currently being used by athletic trainers. A high percentage of Major League Baseball pitchers are having a therapy session applied to both shoulders and elbows before their scheduled start. This preventive application technique has allowed them to warm up more efficiently and perform at a higher level. After the game, these same pitchers receive additional treatment to allow them to recover faster and stay in the starting rotation.
In summary, Laser therapy is a very effective and safe therapy and is cumulative in effect. Each treatment is complementary to the last on a cellular level. Each case is unique and a therapeutic goal/plan will be established setting realistic expectations for the owner or trainer. Proper shoeing, dental care and saddle fitting are imperative to achieving optimal results. A few of our wellness partners include a top class chiropractic practitioner and long line rehab and training services.We are currently using the laser now with amazing results. Jane has received her MLS laser therapy training and certification and is actively treating horses at this time. There is a grand opening educational event and celebration with wine and appetizers taking place on Thursday, June 28 starting at 5:00 p.m. There will be guest speakers, demonstrations and representatives of the Cutting Edge Laser Therapy product attending as well as Serosun wellness partners. To find out additional information about these exciting services or to attend the event, contact Jane Stickland at 847-922-9809.
Here is an interesting article on one of the new faces of agriculture – regenerative agriculture. There are a lot of interesting things happening and organic may not be the “be all end all” in terms of turning our food system and farm system around.
Hey all you millennials. Here’s your opportunity to live on the farm without the work. Check out Serosun Farms Real Estate at www.serosunliving.com