BRANDON - A jubilant Muffie Harvey completed a long-distance ride that took her the length of Vermont on a horse named Molly; she raised $15,000 for research in the fight against breast cancer. It wasn't just the challenge of a Paul Revere-style ride-in Harvey's case, it was a family member's death to breast cancer that mades the challenge a very personal crusade. Harvey, a member of the faculty of College of St. Joseph and campus dining director with Fitz, Vogt and Associates. She rode to honor her mother, a cancer victim.
To demonstrate her commitment in the fight against breast cancer, Harvey rode her horse Molly the near south-to-north length of Vermont.
"I am taking backroads," Havey told the Outlook via cell phone on June 21 at the start of the ride. "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 June 21 departure at the SVC campus, Harvey's stops included Rutland, Brandon, Middlebury and points north.
As a member of Vermont's higher education community, Harvey created a special "Campuses for Cancer": part of the tour that included 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."
The ride ended on July 2 at Church Street in Burlington, where clapping supporters gathered to welcome her.
"I was surprised at how many people at Church Street knew we were coming," said Harvey. "One guy stopped right in the middle of traffic, jumped out of his truck and yelled, 'You go girl''"
The 145-mile route took her from Bennington to Burlington on a route roughly parallel to Route 7.
Along the way, she stayed with fellow horse-lovers who had been enlisted by a friend who sent out an e-mail blast.
"I was amazed at the response," said Harvey
"My hosts were very gracious and generous."
Harvey was 15 years old when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Harvey estimates that the ride raised around $15,000 for the fight against breast cancer, with money still coming in.
"So many people shared their trials and tribulations with this disease," she said.
For now, Harvey and her horse are taking it easy; it was a long time in the saddle, but there's already a ride planned for 2011.
Check It Out: You can still contribute to Harvey's Horseride Against Cancer. Send a check made out to the American Cancer Society (tax-deductible) or the Pink Ribbon Diva Foundation (501-C3 pending) to Harvey at P.O.Box 154, Forestdale, Vt 06745.