On Thursday, Jan 15, First Lady Jane Beshear accepted a check on behalf of “Horses and Hope,” the breast cancer awareness program initiated by the First Lady and the Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP). The donation of more than $11,000 presented to the First Lady in the Capitol by Churchill Downs was the result of proceeds collected during the Breast Cancer Awareness Day hosted by the track on Nov. 16, 2008.
“It is always admirable to see the citizens of this great commonwealth come together for a common cause – to raise awareness of such a terrible disease,” said Mrs. Beshear. “I am truly thrilled that we were able to collect over $11,000 in donations to help in the fight of the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Kentucky women.”
As part of the “Horses and Hope” program, Breast Cancer Awareness Days were held at Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Turfway Park and Ellis Park.
“We are so happy that Churchill Downs could join in this initiative to increase breast cancer awareness,” said John Asher, vice president of racing communications at Churchill Downs. “‘Horses and Hope,’ led by Mrs. Beshear, is a wonderful project and today’s event reinforces how truly effective this program is.”
“Horses and Hope” fosters work with the state’s equine industry to identify new opportunities to provide breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referral, as well as to raise funds to sustain programs into the future.
The KCP will administer education, public awareness, provide the mobile mammography unit for the screening on the backside of tracks and handle monetary affairs for “Horses and Hope.” Donations will be placed in a University of Louisville Foundation account for the exclusive support of the project.
The KCP at both the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky has been awarded grants of $10,500 each from the Kentucky Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund to fund breast cancer awareness, education, screening and outreach activities related to “Horses and Hope.”
In addition, the KCP at the University of Louisville has committed up to $10,000 from their 2008-09 operating budget to initiate project activities.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Kentucky’s women. According to the Kentucky Cancer Registry, 2,700 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed on average in Kentucky women each year. Over the last five years, nearly 600 Kentucky women have died each year from breast cancer.