Accident hasn’t stopped woman from encouraging students

“You can do anything, you just might have to do it a little bit differently.”

That’s the message that Cindy Goff has been spreading to young people for decades. Goff, 74, has been wheelchair bound for more than 30 years after she sustained an injury from falling off a horse.

“That didn’t stop me from riding though,” she said.

With determination and a thoughtful approach, Goff was able to continue her passion of working with horses, and she additionally became an advocate for others facing adversity.

Goff began working for Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington. While she officially worked in the marketing mainly consisted of traveling across the state and speaking with students about remaining driven to achieve their goals no matter what.

She said she’s visited several schools across Kentucky, taking one of the numerous dogs she has owned with her to help break the ice with the students she visited.

“I would tell them you could do anything, you just have to try extra hard and you have to think,” she said. “You can’t just jump into something.”

Goff said she also told students to be nice to other people, because humans are, by nature friendly and willing to help if you ask.

The point is driven home when Goff talks about how she took part in a four-month journey driving a horse-drawn carriage from Louisville to Florida in 2003. The trip took Goff through four states on a Driving for the Disabled trip. During the 1,000 mile trip, Cindy, a traveling companion and a support driver in a car relied entirely on the generosity of strangers for shelter every night.

“Only one person turned us down the entire trip,” Goff said. “Most would let us into their homes and share with us.”

The generosity continued all the way down to Cedar Key on the Gulf of Mexico.

“It was an interesting time in my life,” Goff said, flipping through the pages of two large binders filled with journal entries chronicling the journey. “We met all different kinds of people along the way. People are really nice everywhere. I’ve been very lucky to know the people I have.”

Goff’s travels were not contained to the continental U.S. either. During her time taking part in Driving for the Disabled she travelled around the world, visiting countries like England, Austria and Germany as part of her activism.

But her favorite destination during her travels was New Zealand.

“I went once for a Driving for the Disabled trip, but I also have a friend who lives there, so I went back in the same year just to visit,” she said.

Now, Goff tries to stay close to home in Winchester. She made the transition from farm living to making a comfortable home for herself and her dog Burt in one of the cottages at Rose Mary Brooks Place. However, she is still willing to share her stories with anyone who asks, and she still encourages young people to chase their dreams, recently visiting George Rogers Clark High School, where her granddaughter is a student, to speak with students in the journalism class for an interviewing assignment.

“Life is always a change,” she said. “You just have to learn to go with the flow.”