“I was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer (Stage IIB) in 1999 and as I had two middle school age children then it was not a good situation to be in. I had my treatment at Hopkins—3 surgeries, 6 months of chemo and then radiation. The things that helped me through this were family and friends, my faith and the hope that I would survive and ride again—specifically dressage, which I had never done and found so beautiful.”
About 20 years ago Pat had the vision to “give back” to Hopkins and the community through this sport that means so much to her. In 2009, amidst a lot of volunteering, Pat had the special privilege to ride in the weekend dressage show. Also, in 2009 through Pat’s continued leadership as founder of the PVDA Ride for Life, she was recognized as USDF Region 1 Volunteer of the Year. Pat’s three latest goals are to help the event reach $1,000,000 in donations to Johns Hopkins, become self-perpetuating, and to ride in the event once again.
Throughout our history, horses have inspired us and been allies in battle and partners in progress. Our hope for The PVDA Ride for Life exemplifies the belief that horses can inspire and aid us in the fight against breast cancer. Quoting our event founder and breast cancer survivor, Patricia Artimovich, “Help us make the ring of hoof beats become the music of hope!”
The PVDA Ride for Life is an annual weekend family event held in the Baltimore/Washington area to raise funds for breast cancer research and to improve the lives of those affected and their loved ones. Since its inception in 2004, the event has raised over $945,000 for the Johns Hopkins Breast Center. The event coincides with a licensed dressage show sponsored by The Potomac Valley Dressage Association (a 501c 3 non-profit organization.)
During the annual dressage show riders compete for High Pledge Awards, High Score Awards and Breed Awards. On Saturday afternoon, we will have a Fundraiser Exhibition to allow our competitors to showcase their creativity in an exhibition Musical Freestyle Test of Choice, or any USEF or FEI level test. The audience will have an opportunity to “vote” for their favorite freestyle by purchasing raffle tickets to be allotted to their favorite horse and rider team. Following the exhibition we will announce the exhibition winners and all pledge winners on the concourse.
As in the past, the weekend will continue to have shopping with our great vendors.
The PVDA Ride for Life is funded through generous sponsorships, rider donations raised through pledges, a raffle, vendor donated funds and merchandise purchases.
The entire weekend is free to encourage participation by families within and outside of the Maryland area. The event and each of these activities, which include breast health education efforts, are supported through volunteer efforts provided by the PVDA, the Johns Hopkins Breast Center Survivor Volunteers and the community at large.
Through our partnership with Johns Hopkins the money collected functions much as an endowment where we have influence over how the money is used as well as the elimination of administrative costs.
The PVDA Ride for Life has supported 5 metastatic breast cancer retreats, including the filming of a retreat to use as a teaching tool to help other breast centers launch their own retreats modeled after ours, printing of patient educational materials, the education and support of our breast cancer survivor volunteer team who do one on one support, allowing them to receive quarterly education to keep them up to date on newer treatments that new patients are likely to receive, and the purchase of breast health education items to use at community outreach events that they staff for Hopkins. The Ride for Life also supports the purchase of parking vouchers for breast cancer survivor volunteers who come on-site to hold hands of patients having breast cancer surgery or biopsies.
When you think about it, this means more than 10,000 people have been educated in the community setting about breast cancer and promoting early detection, 64 patients with metastatic breast cancer and their 64 spouses or other loved ones have attended a 3 day, 2 night retreat and left with an end-of-life plan, learned how to fulfill hopes and future life goals in alternative ways, selected cards for their children to receive for those children's milestones they will reach after their moms had passed away, and learned how to regain some control of their lives. And printing or purchase of patient education materials for more than 3,000 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. As well as hand holding of more than 12,000 breast patients.
When thinking about the fellows you will see listed below, they have learned the Hopkins way of delivering patient centered care which includes meeting with Lillie Shockney regularly to understand the importance of patient navigation, operations management of a breast center, attendance at the Hopkins metastatic retreats, and learning the value of starting survivorship care at the time of diagnosis. They learn the psycho-social needs of patients, learn long term side effects and late effects of treatment, conduct community outreach, understand fear of recurrence and how to support their patients with such fears, the toll of the PCP during and following breast cancer treatments, and other topics of importance to prepare them for performing as a Hopkins breast surgical oncologist.
Additionally, the fellows rotate through every discipline of Hopkins multidisciplinary team. Surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, breast imaging, genetics, research, etc. They spend time at all 4 of Johns Hopkins breast centers which cover all the various models from community hospitals to academic centers. They also have to conduct their own research project, present on it at a national conference and publish the results.
These are the individuals our contributions helped to train as breast surgeons who now work in many areas that would not normally have the reach and talent supplied by Johns Hopkins. These same individuals have also trained additional individuals and as such the ripple effect is profound.