Since its inception in 2000, the Dexter-based 18 Fore Life Charity has witnessed some unusual means by which supporters raised funds. There have been lemonade stands, Pink-out volleyball games across the county, fishing tournaments, the 10 Pins for Ben Bowling event, and in 2013 another local charity, the H.O.P.E. Campaign even partnered with 18 Fore Life in support of raising funds to be presented in $1,000 increments to area cancer patients.
Perhaps no fundraiser is as unique, however, as one planned to take place in mid-September on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University.
Meagan Smith-Brehmer is no stranger to the efforts that go into raising funds to battle cancer. Her grandfather, John Brehmer, battled cancer for 22 years, since before his granddaughter was born until his death in 2008. Through his example, Meagan learned to accept the challenges that life presents and to overcome, and she learned the importance of supporting those entities that work to support cancer victims — locally entities like Relay for Life and 18 Fore Life.
Meagan is now a college student at Southeast Missouri State University, heavily involved in the school’s equestrian program. She rides atop a 10-year-old Quarter Horse named LiveStrong — “Lance for short — named after the cancer organization that bears the name. When she shows her horse, there is a whisper of her grandfather in every performance.
“Lance shows in purple colors because that was Grandpa’s favorite color,” she explains. “He always told me to pursue my dreams, and my equestrian dreams are the biggest ones yet.”
It has been Meagan’s lifelong dream to ride. She now is doing so competitively and, she says, loving every minute of it.
The vivacious college student has devised a way to combine her love of horses and her passion to help others by spearheading the first-ever (perhaps annual) Riding Out Cancer event. On Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., members of Redhawks Equestrian Team will host a Riding Out Cancer event, featuring a Human Horse High Jump Competition. The fun and games will take place on Parker Field on Southeast’s campus.
“It’s a lot like doing the Limbo, only the opposite,” Smith-Brehmer explains. “Competitors jump the bar that is set up for horses in competition events. Every time they clear it, the bar is set higher until all have jumped and we’ve eliminated all but one jumper.”
The jumping contest won’t be the only attraction at the Sept. 18 event. Smith-Brehmer and Lance will be displaying some exercises for the audience, as will at least one other rider from the team.
“The entry fee for the Human Horse Jump will be eight dollars,” Meagan explains. “But we’ll also have raffles and lots of door prizes.”
Cape merchants, she says, have been generous in their donations. She will be visiting in her hometown in the coming days to solicit local merchants to do the same.
“We’re also taking private donations,” Smith-Brehmer says. “We’re had a great response so far. Everyone, it seems, has been touched by cancer. Every penny from this event will go toward 18 Fore Life, and those funds go right to the hands of people battling cancer. We have no overhead expenses.”
The public is invited to attend the Riding Out Cancer event. Further information may be obtained by contacting Meagan Smith-Brehmer at 573-624-0539.