Ride For Ribbons, Ride For Women!
This past year (06/07), my mom was diagnosed with and is currently fighting breast cancer. It started out with what the doctors thought was a very small lump with clean barriers. But when she had her lumpectomy, they realized that the boarder was not clean, it was much larger than they thought, and that it was in 17 of her lymph nodes. Her doctors decided then to have her start chemotherapy, which she is in the middle of right now, and then after the chemo, she is going to have a mastectomy.
The hardest part about this is that my husband and I live over 300 miles away from her. I'm fortunate enough to know that she has my dad, and that they both have great neighbors and friends in their town to lend a helping hand.
Like most people with family members who have cancer, I experienced a variety of emotions at first, and am still struggling with. I was sad and mad at the same time for a while. During my whole life, it's never been about my mother--never. If someone was sick in the family, she'd take care of them. If she was sick, she'd just deal with it and never complain. My sister and I never really wanted for anything. If we needed something for school, for dance lessons, or for music practices, we got it. My parents however, did without so that we could have. It just makes me so mad that a person like my mom, who's always put others before herself has cancer now. It just isn't fair!
After a lot of my anger went away during my cycle of emotions, I began to think about how I could use my energy to help fight this disease, rather than complain about the fact that my mother had it. That's when I started to get an idea to tie in my favorite sport (equestrian) with fundraising efforts to support breast cancer research.
Most fundraising efforts, I think, start out small with a simple idea. My organization started the same way and it's amazing to me how fast it's growing and how much money we're raising! It all began one day when I was flipping through a horse catalogue and saw a saddle pad and pair of riding gloves with a pink breast cancer ribbon on them.
After purchasing them, I decided that for as long as my mom was fighting breast cancer, I'd honor her by showing in this saddle pad and gloves at every horse show. Since I show in hunt seat, equitation, and jumpers and the riding attire is pretty conservative for hunters, I decided to dress up my show attire in the jumper ring with these patterns of pink. I even clipped a ribbon on my horse's rump to show his support!
About two weeks before the first show of the season, I thought I'd research various organizations to see if I could join up with an existing organization to help raise money for breast cancer research while competing in the equestrian show ring. After no such luck, I decided that if there wasn't already an organization that linked equestrian sports with breast cancer research in the way that I was envisioning, then I'd pilot a new organization; thus began Ride for Ribbons, Ride for Women.