The Valdosta Daily Times
KB Horse Camp held its annual Ride for Life Rodeo Saturday to raise money for families with children who have cancer and to increase public awareness of childhood cancer.
The event’s motto is “GOLD needs to be as big as PINK.” Kim McGhee, KB Horse Camp owner, said that pink is for breast cancer and gold is for childhood cancer.
“It bothers me that everyone in the world knows what pink stands for, but everybody turns away from gold because they don’t want to think about children dying,” McGhee said. “All over town you see pink. Don’t you think that gold should be around, too? Because if you get more awareness, you get more money for a cure, or better treatment.”
Make Some Noise: Cure Kids Cancer Foundation states that cancer kills more children than any other disease. Also, a child is diagnosed with cancer every 40 minutes, and 50 children die of cancer each week. Of the survivors, 75 percent face long-term health problems and handicaps due to treatment.
All of the event’s proceeds go to Hugs of Hope, a non-profit organization for pediatric cancer families.
“My daughter, Elizabeth, was the one who started it (Hugs of Hope). She battled cancer, and passed away in 2010. She told us what she wanted us to do with the foundation before she passed,” said Melanie Pitts, Hugs of Hope co-founder. “She wanted us to do this. We help the families, we raise money for them, and we just provide the support, social, educational, and financial. All of the proceeds from today’s event goes to support our families directly.”
Raising money to fight childhood cancer is extremely important, but this rodeo does much more than fundraising, it brings childhood cancer into the light, and brings the families affected by it closer together.
Kari Sands’ daughter, Ivana Easley, has battled cancer, and her most recent treatment was Wednesday, Sands said. “I was happy that she wasn’t sick so she could actually enjoy this weekend.
“More than the money, it’s about raising awareness in the community. There are more children that are sick in this area than we actually know,” Sands said. “It’s about bringing fellowship. People get a chance to come out and fellowship with their families to see what they’re going through. It’s bigger than the money, it’s the fellowship and the awareness.”
People don’t think about childhood cancer daily unless they are affected by it, participants said.
“It’s something that always happens to somebody else; it never happens to us or you. So it hits close to home when it does happen,” said David Sullivan.
His daughter, Holly, is fighting cancer, so he was happy to see her riding horses and having fun.
“This is touching me so much to see everybody here,” Sullivan said.