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Local nonprofit that helps children, veterans holding benefit concert

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SHELLEY — Community members are invited to a benefit concert to support a local nonprofit dedicated to helping others.

Larry Cudmore — a retired pastor and cancer survivor — runs Champ’s Heart, a ministry to share horse encounter experiences with children and their family members who are facing challenges such as cancer and other disabilities. The organization also helps veterans, especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The nonprofit will host a Champ’s Heart Benefit Concert on July 23 at 7 p.m., with the funds going to the operational costs it takes to run the program. The event will take place at the North Bingham County Historical Park Rodeo Grounds, located at 587 East 1250 North in Shelley. Lyle Albertson’s Strait Country Dance Band will perform, and concession stands will be open.

“I want to build an awareness (through this concert) that there are a lot of people with different special needs and that there are people in the community that are wanting to provide help for them,” Cudmore explained.

Cudmore started the organization about three years ago after being inspired by another cancer patient. During his treatment in Utah, he visited a teenage girl from Ashton who was also in Utah battling cancer. He told her when they were better that he’d bring his horse, Champ, to her house and give her a ride to celebrate. But a few months after that conversation, she died.

This experience influenced him to start the nonprofit and give children a one-hour break from treatment and therapy by letting them ride horses for free.

“They get to come and be a kid having fun,” Cudmore said. “I always tell the parents, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to keep your children safe and smiling.’”

Larry Cudmore of Champs Heart
Larry Cudmore, founder of Champ’s Heart, during a parade. | Courtesy Champ’s Heart Facebook page

Karole Honas, a volunteer, estimates that there are at least 70 clients right now. Honas retired from KIFI Local News 8 as an anchorwoman last year, and as much as she loved her job, she said she needed to do something to fuel her tank.

“When I got out there, Larry said, ‘You’ll get more out of this than the kids do.’ And that is exactly right,” she said. “I’m in love with these kids. They are darling, and they are so appreciative, and their parents are so appreciative.”

Honas feels grateful for the opportunity to “give back” to the community through Champ’s Heart, and Cudmore is happy to help those in need.

“There are so many challenges that families have that nobody knows about,” he explained. “It’s broadened my horizons about the human experience with all the different challenges these parents face with their children.”

Tickets to the concert are $5 for children, $10 for adults and $25 for families with more than three kids. Tickets can be purchased here.

Along with funds from the concert, Honas also said cash, hay, horse equipment and sometimes, horses, can also be donated.

More information on Champ’s Heart and the event can be found on the group’s website and Facebook page.

Champs heart
A community member riding one of the horses involved with the nonprofit, Champ’s Heart. | Courtesy Champ’s Heart Facebook page
Champs Heart 3
Courtesy Champ’s Heart Facebook page