Thursday, January 26, 2012

We've gone global!

Following the release of the Star Ledger piece, I was contacted by the Associated Press requesting an interview with me and meet Suki. Like the Star Ledger, there would be a video piece as well as a written article. Both would be circulated globally. I was also contacted by our local newspaper, The Reading Eagle. They had heard that the Associated Press was interested in interviewing me and they wanted to get an article out first. That made me laugh... I mean I love my horse and know that she has a story to tell. But it just seemed funny that the local paper did not want to be "scooped" by the AP. A writer and photographer from the Eagle came out in May, and wrote a very nice piece about Suki. Lori was also there, because I wanted the connection to human burn survivors included. I had also requested that the farm owner and barn manager be present. The fire was local news, of course, and most people in the area remembered the fire and were, indeed, curious about what had happened to the critically injured horse. At the end of June, 2011, following a conference for me and a week at the beach with the family, two journalists and a photographer and videographer came out to the farm to meet us. I had planned poorly, so Lori wasn't there and she should have been. The AP wanted to see a typical day for Suki. So I groomed, exfoliated, moisturized and lunged Suki. The person writing the print article interviewed me. I also referred her to Lori, Mike Fugaro Kelly, and New Bolton. It was important to me that the story was complete, and I knew that I was only capable of relaying a small portion of the story. I think that was when I realized that to effectively write a book, I would need to interview many people! Overall I was really pleased with the finished product from the AP, and actually learned a few things. Dr. Michelle Harris, the resident who first saw Suki at New Bolton described the scene upon opening the trailer....She said that the entire trailer smelled like there was a fire inside. Burn survivor Bill, who also spoke to the AP, provided a moving memory of his experience meeting Suki, and how he was almost drawn to tears. I was really nervous about the article being published. I wanted it to be received well, and the very vain side of me was concerned about how I appeared on the video. Growing up in North Jersey sometimes I speak really fast! I have shed the accent (or never actually had it) but the fast forward manner remains as a significant part of my personality. The piece included the link to Suki's Facebook page, which at the time had approximately 400 fans. When the article was published we watched the numbers swell to over 2000, in just 48 hours. I was amazed (and yes, thrilled!) But the funniest thing that happened was when my niece texted my husband: "Fran's on Yahoo!" Yes, I took a picture
The response to the article was really quite phenomenal, but some of the comments, not so pretty. That hurt a bit, but well, you can't please everyone. I stand by the decision that I save my horse. It was not cruel. I was prepared to euthanize her if necessary. But Suki showed her strength and determination to live and thrive. But you know all of that.....and look where we are. Friends Googled the article and it showed hits from around the world. I wondered about the response, but then realized...everyone likes a happy ending. But the story continues. And the bigger picture was to get that wound healed, get Suki back to work, and inspire and help others.

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