By Sandra Zunino
When 4-year-old Molly Farrell from Gaithersburg was diagnosed with Lymphoma last May, the news was devastating, but a sign for the promise of her future came in the form of a brand new miniature horse foaled on Dominic’s Farm on Bennett Point Road seven weeks ago.
With the foal born just as Molly was diagnosed, there was no doubt in owner Kathy Marinucci’s mind as to what to name her. Molly Farrell had a new namesake in the tiny chestnut equine.
Kathy and her husband Steve are Molly’s great aunt and uncle. They send pictures of the foal to Molly through the internet and the link has helped keep her spirits up throughout the grueling chemotherapy treatments she must endure for the next two and a half years.
“She is telling everyone about the little horse named after her,” reports Kathy. “I’m excited for her to be able to come here and visit.” Molly is looking forward to the day when she feels well enough to meet the foal in person.
In and out of hospitals, Molly’s disease was difficult to diagnose because it is so rare and simulates leukemia symptoms. “She was sick for two months before they pinpointed what it was, with high fevers and lots of pain in her stomach,” says Kathy.
Fortunately, Molly’s prognosis is good, but in the interim, it is hard on her family with her parents juggling schedules to get her to treatments and frequent separations from her twin brother, Conor. Anything that can be done to keep up her spirits is a blessing.
Dominic’s Farm is all about offering emotional healing and comfort. Kathy and Steve established the farm for their autistic son, Dominic and they invite the challenged community to come visit and work on the farm with the crops and many animals.
“This farm is about children and healing and comfort,” says Kathy. “There isn’t anyone I see who doesn’t feel that sense of comfort when they come here to be with these little animals.”
What is unique about Dominic’s Farm is it’s open to everybody and anybody. Neither a corporation nor non-profit organization, Kathy and Steve use their own personal funds to run the farm and derive great pleasure by offering it to the community as a place of momentary respite.
Sales from the farm stand help supplement some of the costs, but in no way touches the expenses incurred to keep the farm going. Kathy says this is just her way of giving back to the community.
“Having a child who could not compete with the normal world opened my eyes up to taking the time to go at a slower pace and take pleasure in the simplicities of life,” says Kathy. “It’s an important lesson and one I want to share.”
Kathy also donates time to the Chesterwye Center, sitting on the board of directors. “The only thing I can give right now is myself and the farm,” she says. “I think everyone needs to reach out right now and help their neighbor.”
“So many are struggling these days,” she adds.
Dominic’s Farm is always available for comfort and just for fun. Kathy extends an open invitation for people to call and make an appointment to visit. For more information about Dominic’s Farm, visit www.dominicsfarm.com or call 301-674-3616.