Lehigh Valley

Mother on mission to help others following daughter's tragic death

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. - Sunday was a bittersweet day for Donna Zimmerman as she celebrated her late-daughter's life during a special event in Northampton County.

"This is to celebrate her. I want her to be remembered," Zimmerman said.

On Sunday, she held a fundraiser in honor of her daughter to benefit Equi-Librium in Nazareth.

"My daughter passed away January of 2017 and she was a well-known equestrian," says Zimmerman.

Her daughter, Jamie Talianic, was diagnosed with bipolar and social anxiety disorder when she was in high school. Zimmerman says that's when she got her daughter a horse to help her cope.

"It was the best thing we could have done for her. She just took off she became a great rider," says Zimmerman. But then about 6 years ago, Zimmerman says her daughter fell off her house, broke her back and was prescribed pain killers. "January of this year she overdosed from an opioid. An accidental overdose and I want to bring awareness to," says Zimmerman.

It was a heart-wrenching and tragic loss, but now this mother is on a mission to help others."I just wanted to do a horse show in memory of her and bring some awareness to what horse therapy can do," says Zimmerman.

Equi-Librium is a horse assisted therapy center. Money raised at this event at Molasses Creek Farm in Northampton will help offset the cost of lessons and other activities the center offers.

"We help both children and adults with special needs and those can be both physical and mental. It's very important to us that everyone irregardless of income level have access to things like this," says Colleen Krcelich with Equi-Librium.

And it's important to Donna Zimmerman to make sure others can feel the same sense of belonging and comfort her daughter felt being around horses. "Horses were everything to her. She was very happy and at peace," says Zimmerman.

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