Horseback Riding Provides Support System For Oklahoma Breast Cancer Patients
COLCORD, Oklahoma - Kim Guenther has been riding horses since she was a little girl and now she's a member of the Harvard Fox Hounds Hunt Club. The riders meet up for special events, like trail rides, but Kim had to take a break earlier this year when her doctor told her she had breast cancer.
"At first, I thought 'wait did you say I did or didn't?' It didn't register. I told my husband and just cried," Kim says. "It just hits you."
Kim's not alone. Some of the other riders are breast cancer survivors and all them support Kim in her battle. When Dr. Julie Woosley started fundraising for the Komen Race for the Cure at work, it seemed perfect for the Harvard Hunt Club to participate as well.
"I thought why not involve this big group of strong women who some have already been affected and who may be affected in the future with fundraising, and riding with a purpose instead of just riding for fun. We could actually do some good," says Woodley.
Riders honored Kim by wearing pink. They painted ribbons on their horses and showed off pink ribbons.
"Everyone wants to honor her and support her. I"m so happy that she's feeling strong enough to come out and join us on the rides still," Woodley says.
Kim found out she carries a breast cancer gene, PALB2.
"That changed everything. The mastectomy, just knowing that it often comes back in the other breast with PALB2, I felt like that made the decision for me and the surgeon felt good with that," says Kim.
After surgery came chemotherapy and that kept her from riding, but not anymore.
"This chemo has been a little bit easier to tolerate," Kim says. "I just do normal life as much as I can."
Kim says the riding is therapeutic and riding with these members means the world.
"A few of our members had it, so I found out about that. They just offered me whatever I needed. It was really nice," says Kim. "To do this on beautiful land, on beautiful animals, it's just amazing. For their support, it just helps me in those moments when you're struggling."
All the riders will tell you they look forward to these gatherings especially the Ride for the Cure.
"Just getting together out here in this gorgeous setting and being with these animals that we love, it's so fulfilling. Getting to be in a community of people and sharing that together - that's what we love doing and then to able to do that for a good cause is even better," Woodley says.