Purpose born out of tragedy


On July 8th, 2000, Sara Joy Rychener and Jay David Burkholder pledged their lives to each other in marriage. On March 15th, 2002, their plans and dreams of raising a family together were altered as Sara gave birth to their first child. Jackson David was delivered by emergency cesarean section.

A few hours later Sara passed away from unknown causes. Due to the complication of being without oxygen during delivery, Jackson was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Doctors informed our families that the damage to Jackson’s brain was permanent and would never improve. They gave us a list of things Jackson would never accomplish. He would never walk. He would never talk. He would never eat on his own and would need to have a feeding tube. He would need drugs to control his condition for the rest of his life. He would spend his entire life in a wheelchair. As he got older, no one would be able to take care of him on their own and we should consider putting him in a home that would be equipped to meet his countless needs.

Our families refused to accept these grim predictions about what Jackson’s life would and would not be. During our search and subsequent journeys for treatment for Jackson, we met so many families who, like us, were emotionally, physically and financially strained trying to ensure that their loved ones were given every opportunity for increased independence. We decided to serve these families by establishing a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called “Sara’s Garden”.

Sara’s Garden was established in May 2004 and treated its first clients with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in April 2005. The Conductive Education program followed in the summer of 2006. In an effort to serve families more effectively we now offer Autism Intervention, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration and Speech-Language Pathology services as well. These services provide life-changing results for children with conditions such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Seizure disorders, and Traumatic brain injuries to name a few. As of today, we remain the only facility in the United States to provide all of these services.

Our most recent endeavor was the creation of New Horizons Academy at Sara’s Garden, a holistic, all-encompassing educational center for children who have special learning needs. Our goal is to work with children with special needs and help them to be able to overcome their learning disabilities in hopes that they can return to a typical classroom setting. We strive to help them become as independent as possible. In many cases we have seen increased verbalization and mobility, more focused cognition, reduction and/or elimination of seizures, and improved fine and gross motor skills.

Sara’s Garden provides health and education services to families from across the country who have been told there is no hope for their loved ones to lead a healthy, independent life.

If you would like to receive any additional information regarding Sara’s Garden and the services we provide, please feel free to contact us.


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<p style="text-align: justify;">If you have any questions or would like to receive any additional information on our Sara’s Garden here at Sara's Garden, please feel free to contact us. We would love to address any questions you may have.</p>

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