BRANDON - It takes vision and determination to take on a seemingly impossible goal. In the case of Forestdale resident Muffie Harvey, the seemingly impossible goal is riding horseback nearly the entire length of Vermont - alone.
But it's not just the challenge of a Paul Revere-style mission - in Harvey's case, it's fighting breast cancer that makes the challenge a very personal crusade. Harvey, a member of the faculty of College of St. Joseph and she is the campus dining director with Fitz, Vogt and Associates. Now she is riding to honor her mother, a cancer victim.
To demonstrate her commitment in the fight against breast cancer, Harvey is riding her horse, Molly, the near north-to-south length of Vermont. The long-distance horse ride, already under way, will help raise needed funds for breast cancer research.
On June 21, Harvey and Molly started at Southern Vermont College in Bennington. During a 24-hour-long period June 21-23, fair weather aided the horseback rider in accumulating miles. With ol' Sol shining during that time, Harvey got lots of thumbs up from auto and truck passersby in downtown Manchester.
However, due to a threat of severe thunderstorms as she approached the Rutland County line from the south June 24, the rider had to hunker down to wait for clear skies.
"I am taking backroads," Havey told the Outlook via cell phone. "I am following the Otter Creek in some places. I can't talk with you for very long. I am all by myself with Molly. I am determined to complete this ride," she said.
Following her departure at the SVC campus, Harvey's stops will include Rutland, Brandon, Middlebury and points north.
As a member of Vermont's higher education community, Harvey has created a special "Campuses for Cancer": part of the tour that includes the starting point - her alma mater Southern Vermont College - her employer, Rutland's College of St. Joseph, Middlebury College, and a final campus stop at the University of Vermont.
"Harvey was 15 years old when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer," according to Ken Sheldon who is handling publicity for the trek. "She has been planning this trip for 20 years to honor the courage of her mother, a two-time breast cancer survivor. Muffie's fundraising ride supports the American Cancer Society and the Pink Ribbon Diva Foundation, a Rutland-based agency that provides financial and logistical help to cancer victims."
For the next three weeks, Harvey will be riding tall in the saddle. After a stop at UVM, she plans to end the long, lonely ride on Church Street in Burlington.
Check It Out: Tax deductible donations in support of the Horseride Against Cancer should be made to the American Cancer Society or the 501 (c)3 Pink Ribbon Diva Foundation or to Muffie Harvey, P.O.Box 154, Forestdale, Vt. 06745.