Let your spirit of giving live on beyond the holidays…

In this part of the Delaware Valley, horse breeding and racing is a revered and beloved past-time. Many famous jockeys and horses have come out of Pennsylvania and Delaware – you hear the success stories every race season. However, there can be a dark side to the industry as well. Recently a heart-wrenching story of a Unionville, Pennsylvania jockey was published in our local paper.

The jockey, Jake Chalfin, was hurt badly in a riding accident at the Blue Ridge Fall Races in Berryville, Virigina – a young, un-tried filly panicked and ended up throwing Chalfin into a fence, paralyzing him from the chest down. Chalfin’s decision to try the horse was no easy task – he freely admits he took an educated risk designed to boost his career and that of the unknown racehorse.

After the accident, however, is when Jake felt the full measure of his life, his career and his friends. And he had no idea what was to come. Immediately after his hospitalization, friends and family began setting up funds and accounts to try and assist Jake with what he knew would eventually be staggering medical bills. The result? Tickets to the first fundraising event are sold out – at $150 a ticket. A trust fund with a million dollars has appeared out of nowhere. And the friends? They’re everywhere – “They have come out of the woodwork,” says Jake, “I’m so overwhelmed by it. I can’t believe how fortunate I am that I have this network of friends who has my back!”

When I see and hear this kind of triumph arising out of personal tragedy – I am touched and awed by the bonds of human relationships. I encourage you to look around you at the community you live and work in, and become an active participant in your social network, no matter the scope. In these post-holiday months, don’t forget that giving and caring for others need not be restricted by season. In each of us lies the potential to enrich and support another’s life – and the rewards of caring for others knows no bounds.


Greg Gurev, Head Sherpa

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