On July 18, Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear announced Horses and Hope, an initiative she has created with the Kentucky Cancer Program. The project will foster 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.

"Most of you know of my great love for horses," said Mrs. Beshear. "Horses and Hope will combine my passion for these great animals with the fight to cure this disease."

"Horses and Hope" will also be supported by the Pink Stable, a committee of women horse owners, trainers, jockeys, race track representatives and others convened by the first lady. In addition to Mrs. Beshear, who chairs the committee, members of the Pink Stable include Wende Bell, Anita Cauley, Patricia Cooksey, Carol Farmer, Mary Midkiff, Susan Nicholson, Ann McBrayer and Donna Ward.

"Horses and Hope" will sponsor Breast Cancer Race Days to raise awareness at Kentucky's racetracks on the following days:

  • Aug. 16 - Ellis Park
  • Sept. 26 - Turfway Park
  • Oct. 24 - Keeneland
  • Nov. 16 - Churchill Downs

Other activities planned include:

  • Backside Outreach, where breast cancer education, awareness and screening will be provided to track workers and their families, placing special emphasis on the uninsured and underinsured;
  • Development of materials and a website that will provide screening and treatment resources for Kentuckians; and
  • Working with colleagues in the equine industry to secure financial and in-kind contributions for "Horses and Hope" programs.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at both the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky has been awarded grants ($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 Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville has committed up to $10,000 from their 2008-09 operating budget to initiate project activities.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville will administer fiscal affairs for Horses and Hope. Donations will be placed in a University of Louisville Foundation account for the exclusive support of the project.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Kentucky's women. According to the Kentucky Cancer Registry, an average of 2,700 new cases of breast cancer is diagnosed in Kentucky women each year. Over the last five years, an average of nearly 600 Kentucky women has died each year from breast cancer.

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