DOVER — The night before the Pink Your Pony fundraiser ride for the Vera Bradley Foundation for breast cancer awareness was like a girls’ night out — for both the horses and their humans.
Horses were bathed, brushed and pedicured and kept in their stalls for the night.
Riders returned to Bay Lake Stables at 7 a.m. the next morning to decorate their horses in hopes of winning a prize.
Thirty-three riders, ages 9 to 63, and 15 spectators brought in about $1,000 through entry fees, food concessions, drawings and a silent auction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, other than some skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer women get, regardless of heritage or race. Depending on ethnicity, breast cancer is the most common (Hispanic) or second most common (white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native women) cause of cancer deaths in women.
Dawn Galia, a breast cancer survivor and director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association, endured a long year of treatments after her cancer diagnosis.
“During those rough times you lean on your faith and your family,” said Galia, whose support group included her husband, Pete, children, Dianna and Zach Galia, and friends.
“You can wonder why did it happen to me or … ask how can I help someone else,” Galia said.
Her response was to create Pink Your Pony.
“It was great to have so many come out — from the Brandon area, Pinellas County and Lakeland — to help fight this disease,” she said.
There was even a veterinarian from Surgi-Care Center for Horses in Brandon who stayed all day and gave free, general checkups of horses.
Galia enjoyed the equestrians’ creativity in pinking their ponies.
Best-decorated pony award winners were Cindy Timbes (co-owner of Bay Lake Stables with her husband, Gary Timbes), who was a knight on her warrior horse, Max; and TK Adam, who rode her carousel-themed horse, Arion.
Adam, owner of TK Photography, volunteers with Pink Your Pony because she has lost people in her life to cancer, watched others fight it, and had surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells in her own body, she said.
It “is very important to me to hopefully someday find the cure to this horrible disease which has hurt so many lives,” she said.
To sponsor Pink Your Pony 2014, contact Galia at Center Place at (813) 685-8888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send items of community interest to Barbara Routen at email@example.com.