Riders chase breast cancer cure

Dustin Racioppi

Each of the horse riders that trotted through the green landscape of the Tyrone Farm on Sunday came with a story.

There was Margaret Benoit of Norwich, Conn., whose mother, Pat, bought her a horse seven years ago while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Then there was Luanne Sunstrom, a Massachusetts resident and breast cancer survivor who rode for the women of her family — many of whom have been diagnosed with or succumbed to breast cancer.

And there were 112 other stories perched high above the picturesque valleys and trees of Pomfret, riding in the eighth annual Quiet Corner’s Ride for the Cure.

“There are some women here who have really compelling stories,” said Pam Townshend, co-founder of the event. “The kinds of stories women need to hear.”

While there still is no cure for one of the deadliest diseases among women, each year the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation — where the money raised Sunday is donated — comes a little closer.

Komen’s Connecticut chapter Executive Director Anne Morris said the foundation has just reached the $1 million mark in research grant donations. Through research, education, free mobile mammography units and treatment, she said the survival rate of breast cancer has skyrocketed from 78 percent in 1982 to 98 percent today.

More survivors means more horse riders, which means more money for research and maybe, one day, a cure.

“It’s all about raising awareness,” Morris said.

As Sunday was her first time seeing the ride, Morris said she might arrive next year on four legs to help the effort.

“I’m amazed. If I can find a horse next year and get a few lessons in, I’d definitely mount for this,” she said.

Norwich Bulletin