When Rebecca Mead purchased an ornery pinto gelding named Scout in July 2009, she had no idea that his presence in her life would propel her into a completely unknown world.
Scout, a gelding of unknown breeding, was extremely frightened when Rebecca bought him. Through hard work and dedication, the horsewoman from Mansfield, Texas, gained the gelding’s trust.
Around December 2010, however, Scout was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a specific type of skin cancer. Through various treatments that helped prolong Scout’s life, Rebecca discovered a need for additional research and information about equine cancer. Though she lost Scout last year, Rebecca founded the Equine Cancer Society to fulfill that mission.
“If I would have known in 2010 what I know now, things might have gone a little differently,” she said. “I’m proud to say out of all the trials and tribulations, Scout’s story can be heard and help others in need of information and support.”
Rebecca founded the Equine Cancer Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating horse owners and raising funds for equine cancer research. With only a hope and a prayer, Rebecca relied on word of mouth, social media and online research to start raising funds.
The Equine Cancer Society has gained momentum and is funding studies through the Morris Animal Foundation, including one study concerning growth factors in ocular cancers—Scout’s specific diagnosis.
On the Equine Cancer Society website and Facebook community of more than 16,000 members, Rebecca has compiled information and resources for horse owners who want to know more about cancer. She also fosters a welcoming community for people to share their stories and get involved in the process of funding research and offering a shoulder to lean on during tough times. The organization also helps individuals with veterinary bills through Cow’s Cause, for which people must apply.
The heart of Rebecca’s mission is a deep-rooted desire to help find ways for other horse owners to avoid losing a horse to cancer.
“I really want the Paint Horse community to be aware and to know what signs to look for when it comes to equine cancer—the sooner it is caught, the better the chances of recovery,” Rebecca said. “We have truly brought an awareness not only to horse owners, but to the veterinary community as well.”
[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.