In spite of these challenges, Cassidy thrived and started to walk and talk, but a stutter prompted her mother to send her for voice lessons. Singing helped her overcome the stutter, and she went on to take music lessons, learning electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin and piano. She started writing and singing her own music at the age of twelve, often using her talent at special events to raise awareness of the need for juvenile diabetes research.
Cassidy will bring her music to a fund raising event at Tanglewood Ordinary Restaurant on Friday, May 1, playing and singing her own music and popular tunes. “One of my favorite organizations to support is the Miracles of Hope Foundation” Cassidy said. “They help provide service dogs for people who are diabetic, visually challenged, or disabled. These special dogs make a big difference in people’s lives”.
Cassidy’s favorite helper and inspiration is her own diabetic alert dog,
‘Pepper”. Largely trained by Cassidy from a puppy, “Pepper” knows how to sense when Cassidy’s blood sugar is too high or low, and has even woken her during the night when it was dangerously off kilter. Cassidy worked to sell homemade dog treats to help her family afford her special pet and helper. Her song, “The Dog That Saves Me”, expresses her love and appreciation for the role “Pepper” plays in helping to comfort and keep her safe.
With the support of her parents and “Pepper”, Cassidy continues to take on new challenges. “I don’t want my health problems to define or limit who I am, even though some people think I shouldn’t push myself. The things that might hold me back just push me to do more to overcome them”, Cassidy says.
“My family has always had horses so I have been riding since I was little, but when I wanted to get into rodeo competition, my parents were not sure I should. Eventually, I convinced them and started competing around three years ago. I am currently competing to reach the national championship this summer in Wyoming.” In order to qualify, she has to rank in the top four in all competition categories. So far, she’s in the running. Cassidy and her family live on their farm in Louisa County.
“Some day I would like to be able to spend more time writing songs and eventually record a full CD. I would like to have the proceeds go to diabetes research, and to help others get service dogs to help them manage their special needs”, she said.
In the meantime, Cassidy hopes to win a rodeo scholarship to be on a successful college team. She would like to study physical therapy or sports medicine to combine her love a rodeo with a career helping others.
Cassidy will perform from 6:00-8:30 pm on May 1 at Tanglewood Ordinary Restaurant in Goochland County. For more information, go to www.tanglewoodordinary.com or call 804-556-3284.