- Created on Tuesday, 07 February 2012
Five years ago a heartfelt movement began to sweep through the performance horse community. From a small beginning, the roots of a charitable entity found purchase and the result is little short of astounding. Rein In Cancer came to be through the efforts of three committed women, Shorty Koger, Tracie Anderson and Cheryl (Magoteaux) Cody. Each was new to fundraising but each of their lives had been touched by cancer and they all had very personal reasons to tackle a new project.
Shorty, who owns the well-known Shorty’s Caboy Hattery in Oklahoma City, is herself a cancer survivor who lost her sister to the disease. Tracie, who at the time was the Clinical Operations Director for the University of Oklahoma's Cancer Center, is an successful cutting competitor whose husband is a cancer survivor. Cheryl, an award-winning writer and photographer whose Pro Management, Inc. puts on some of the country’s largest horse shows, learned about cancer first-hand when her sister was diagnosed with the disease. All three pledged to do their best to raise money.
Close to six hundred thousand dollars later, the Shirley Bowman Nutrition Center (named after Koger’s sister who succumbed to cancer) has become a reality. It is housed in the Charles and Peggy Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City and now actively provides nutritional counseling to cancer patients regardless of their ability to pay, as insurance often doesn’t cover this expense.
Their determination in tapping into the horse world’s generosity helped fill a critical need, according to Dr. Robert Mannel, director of the Cancer Center. "Nutrition means that you can get through chemotherapy," Mannel explained. "Nutrition means that your immune system stays activated so you can fight the cancer with all your internal resources."
It was an emotional moment when the three recently toured the center. Shorty noted, “Words cannot express how grateful we are to all the people who have helped make this dream a reality – especially those in the equine industry.”
Tracie agreed, "Seeing the patients that are benefiting from this service has made all of the hard work so rewarding, and we thank all the individuals, groups and clubs that have aided us so far.”
Cheryl said, "The three of us met in early January to discuss the future of Rein In Cancer and as we began to talk, each of us admitted to having given direct monetary support, personally, to someone who had cancer.”
“The financial burden is so great,” noted Shorty, “that it can take everything a person has to pay for the medical bills. Or worse, they are unable to pay for some medications and procedures not covered by insurance that might make a difference.”
Tracie said, “Sometimes it’s just a matter of figuring out how to pay the power bill or buy horse feed, because the family goes from two incomes to one – or because the insurance does not do enough.”
From that discussion came the new direction for Rein in Cancer. Beginning February 1, 2012, members of the American Quarter Horse Association, the National Reined Cow Horse Association, the National Cutting Horse Association and the National Reining Horse Association who are diagnosed with cancer can receive a one-time donation of $500 from Rein In Cancer. The organization will also create a venue for loved ones of the patient to give a directed donation as well to benefit their friend or relative.
And there’s not going to a lot of red tape. The application for support will e available to be downloaded at www.reinincancer.com, and sent to Rein in Cancer, along with a current pathology report. Funding will be done immediately upon receipt and approval.
Anderson summarized the feeling of the group. “We want to make a difference, give someone that little boost when they feel they’re at the end of the rope. Sometimes that can really turn things around.” Koger agreed, “We are hoping that the horse world will continue to be just as supportive as it has been as we begin this new, even more direct route to helping cancer patients and their families.”
Rein In Cancer is a 501C3, tax deductible corporation, so it offers tax benefits to people who donate. Cody noted, “Even as we move into this new phase, we will continue to support the Shirley Bowman Nutrition Center. For both pursuits, we have the momentum and we want to keep going. Remember, one in three women and about one in two men will develop cancer at some time in their life. We want to be there for them.”
For information on Rein In Cancer, visit the web site at www.reinincancer.com.