Hi everyone, my name is Ali and I first met Pam when she reached out looking for horseback riding lessons for Lane. Shortly after Lane started lessons with me, my sister asked me to watch over her 6-month-old Fjord foal while she and her family were away and out of cell service. That foal was Aslan. If you talked horses with Pam at some point, you may have heard of Aslan. Pam was drawn to her and fell in love with her from the start sending me pictures of giving her snuggles in the stall. I like to think of Aslan as her heart horse. Thus was the beginning of a friendship that was short in years, but full of heart and life. Don’t simply take my word for it though, let me share with you what a few others from her horse world had to say. I bet everyone in this room can relate to at least one of these.
- She inspired me to stand tall in spite of my fear and not let it stand in my way. ~Kayla
- She lived these last few years of life with a gratitude for the present moment that was truly contagious. To be with her was to be seen, heard, and cared for in the most genuine way. Long after she is gone, her love of all things will continue to live on in our hearts. ~ Beccah
- Pam gave me such a warm feeling and made me feel that she was one I want to be a friend forever. ~ Wey
- She has inspired me to be a better version of myself. ~Ali
- She was one of the rare ones, so effortlessly herself, and the world loved her for it. ~Tracy
- Pam is a healing therapist in her own right. She brought a beautiful smile, open mind, and open heart to conversations. Without hesitation to explore her inner psyche, fragile health, pain, and relationship to herself and others, Pam showed the essence of human courage and strength in the face of physical expiration. ~Regina
- There are no words to capture the light in her since that first day I met her.~Beckie
- Pam has the ability to read a room and give it what it needs; whether it is a sad child, a group that needs to cut loose and have fun, or just a smile, she nails it every time. ~Jason
- Pam painted with me and when she did it made me feel like I wasn’t alone. ~Jarred
On April 16th of this year, Jason and I were doing a work day in the barn and I got a text from Pam that asked, “If I die soon, like this summer, would you and Jason take over Bucking Cancer?” Without hesitation our answer was, “YES!” Some of you may not know what Bucking Cancer is so I’d like to share the answer to that question from Pam’s perspective.
Pam began dreaming about Bucking Cancer for the last 2+ years while navigating her cancer journey. She was excited to finally be able to launch it and hoped that she would be around for a long time to be of service.Though her time was cut shorter than we all wanted, she was able to share an experience with the first two families at the barn.
The mission of Bucking Cancer is to provide a safe space for people touched by cancer to feel seen, supported, loved, and empowered. A place to connect with horses, nature, and other people while finding respite from the worry and stress of a cancer diagnosis.
In June of 2020, in the midst of so many Covid-19 unknowns, Pam sat alone in the emergency room as a doctor told her they’d found a mass that was thought to be pancreatic cancer. At the height of the pandemic, her family couldn’t be with her and she describes sitting alone, crying, and thinking to herself, “This is the bad kind of cancer….the kind no one wants.”
As you may know, pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. Pam tried not to give that thought much energy, but sometimes it was impossible to quiet the mind. When she let it run, she’d quickly spiral to wondering about things that were impossible to answer. Would she be here for my Lane’s graduation? Will she see her next birthday?
To be frank (in total Pam style) — none of us really know the answers to these questions, but when you’re diagnosed with cancer you suddenly look at your life in a new light.
So while spending time with Lane at the barn where they leased a horse named Calgary, she began to notice periods where she felt safe, connected, and “normal”.
She felt at peace when she was with the horses. She forgot about cancer, chemo, and thoughts of death.
She talked with the horses, brushed their dirty coats, cleaned hooves, fed them peppermints, mucked stalls, and gave them her love. The horses were like medicine as she felt the connection of her heart to the horse’s steady beat.
She was alive.
She was present.
She was awake.
She was grateful.
What a blessing it was to have that opportunity. And that’s when she realized she wanted to share her experience with others touched by cancer.
During her treatments, she was fortunate to be supported by so many people. She received thoughtful gifts, kind gestures, and supportive messages. But she frequently thought about the other cancer patients that didn’t have the support and love that she did and she wanted to share that generosity with them.
Her goal was to create a healing space where survivors can be in the company of horses. A place in nature where they can breathe fresh air and feel present. The emphasis is placed on BEING with horses, not riding. A place to put down the heavy bags they carry.
For her, horses were magically healing and she loved to share that power with others, but she also knew that not everyone wants a horse experience and may need something different or have other needs.
Simple comforts like. . .
A caring, handwritten card
Flowers to brighten their space
A care package to know someone was thinking of them
A warm and fuzzy blanket
A grub hub gift card to help with meals
A small grant to help with the financial strain of cancer
You name it, she thought of it.
Pam wanted to help others buck cancer — even if it’s just for a few minutes, an hour, or an afternoon.
After she completed radiation treatments in January 2023 she knew cancer was looming and she lived her life with the daily reminder that tomorrow is not a guarantee. This drove her to be a better version of herself and create something special. No more sitting on the sidelines, staying quiet, avoiding risk and fear. She was all in and wanted to connect with others and continue to grow this vision of hers.
Bucking Cancer will go on!! The team behind Bucking Cancer is now and will always strive to keep Pam's dream a reality, to reach those that are hurting, that are scared, who just need a hand up, families that need a day to not worry about a meal, that needs a horse to talk to without judgment. Whatever is needed to be a small ray of love and hope into someone's day, Bucking Cancer will be there.
In closing, I’d like to say that I feel pretty confident that if Pam were here today and she could impress anything upon us it would be this:
Go all in.
No more sitting on the sidelines, staying quiet, avoiding risk and fear.
No more excuses.
Inhale Courage. Exhale Fear.
So, to our founder, our guide, and our dear friend Pam, rest easy and pain free, we will take the reins from here, and strive every day to keep your spirit alive and your mission on track.