PVDA Ride for Life Management Team
Founder & Visionary
Pat has pursued a professional career in contract management for Northrop Grumman and is currently Manager of Contracts at Universities Space Research Association. With a degree in law from Duquesne University, she brings her professional skills to bear in support of a cause that is deeply personal.
Pat is a breast cancer survivor. “I was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer (Stage IIB) in 1999 and as I had two middle school age children then it was not a good situation to be in. I had my treatment at Hopkins—3 surgeries, 6 months of chemo and then radiation. The things that helped me through this were family and friends, my faith and the hope that I would survive and ride again—specifically dressage, which I had never done and found so beautiful.”
About 10 years ago Pat had the vision to “give back” to Hopkins and the community through this sport that means so much to her. In 2009, amidst a lot of volunteering, Pat had the special privilege to ride in the weekend dressage show. Also, in 2009 through Pat’s continued leadership as founder of the PVDA Ride for Life, she was recognized as USDF Region 1 Volunteer of the Year. Pat’s three latest goals are to help the event reach $100,000 in donations to Johns Hopkins, become self-perpetuating and to ride in the event once again.
Director, Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center
R.N., B.S., M.A.S.
University Distinguished Service Associate Professor of Breast Cancer
Depts of Surgery and Oncology
Administrative Director, Johns Hopkins Breast Clinical Programs
Administrative Director, Johns Hopkins Cancer Survivorship Programs
Associate Professor, JHU School of Medicine, Depts of Surgery & Gynecology and Obstetrics
Associate Professor, JHU School of Nursing
Lillie has been recognized as a pioneer in the field of breast cancer advocacy and clinical quality care. She is an oncology nurse but also a two time survivor of this disease. She considers it a privilege to “be there” to support women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and in need of comfort, support, and education. Patient empowerment has been one of her mantras. Lillie receives more than 200 emails a day from women around the world seeking help due to being newly diagnosed with the disease or frightened about an upcoming diagnosis.
In 2008, the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees and Medical Board made a decision to appoint her to a physician chair as a distinguished service assistant professor of breast cancer. In 2010 she was promoted to Associate Professor in the School of Medicine’s Depts. of Surgery and Gynecology. She has worked at Johns Hopkins for 28 years and served as the director of the breast center for the last 14. During this time she has received a total of 38 awards for her work in breast cancer-36 national awards and 4 state awards. Last year she was inducted into the Maryland Women Hall of Fame. She strives to minimize the physical and emotional trauma associated with the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
Lillie found that association with horses can have a profound impact on one’s life. She recounts that, “My dad courted my mom on horseback, riding 16 miles to see her. They married at 18. They are now both 83. So horses have a special meaning to me. They
provided my parents a way to see each other that otherwise would never have made it
possible for them to court, marry, and eventually have me!”
Betty Thorpe – In Memoriam
Past PVDA Secretary and President
We are very deeply saddened to share the news that Betty Thorpe has passed away. Betty was a long time PVDA member, officer, director and advocate. She had been quietly battling breast cancer since 2009. Betty was always graceful with gentle encouragement, a fair and balanced perspective and great kindness. Known to many as a positive and encouraging judge.
Within her family, both a niece and a cousin were diagnosed with the disease and have survived. In 2009, when she was diagnosed with the disease and had a mastectomy, she commented, “I have also have friends who have had breast cancer. I find that there are high profile fundraisers for cancer research, but I love the Johns Hopkins support of women with breast cancer. It’s much more personal.”
Betty will be greatly missed. We are blessed to have known her.
PVDA Treasurer and RFL Entry Secretary and Show Secretary
Carolyn has earned a Masters degree in Finance and works for the Equiery as their bookkeeper. An accomplished equestrian with USDF bronze, silver and gold medals, she trains horses and teaches lessons in dressage. Carolyn has been involved as a demo rider, competitor, manager, rider coordinator and secretary for the Ride for Life since its very beginning. “I got involved after Pat made a pitch to PVDA.” This hit home because her grandmother had a breast cancer scare many years ago and Carolyn has had many friends with the disease!
Marcia Mia is an adult amateur bronze, silver and gold medalist who has been a member of PVDA for 18 years. Marcia worked her way up the dressage ranks from Training Level to Grand Prix with the majority of her shows through both PVDA schooling and recognized shows. When not riding, Marcia is a Chemical Engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency, wife to husband Rey and mom to “grown” children Rachel and Ben. New to the PVDA Board for 2016 – when Marcia was asked to chair this fabulous event, it did not take long for her to say “YES”! Marcia loves the impact that the rider donations and raffle make – from Survivor Retreats to the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program.
PVDA President, RFL JHU Liason, and Merchandise Chair
Rider Donation Chair
Marilyn fell in love with horses while a youngster in New York. She would ask for a pony every Christmas starting at age 5 and also made her father buy what turned out to be an awful tasting tobacco for his pipe every year so she could send in the proof of purchase label in a contest to win a race horse. Once she started reading Dick Francis novels, there was no turning back. She purchased her first horse at 28 when she moved to Maryland and plunked down $750 at an auction to buy what turned out to be a hunt staff horse who as one judge said, “took very good care” of her. (God protects fools and babies). Although she’s been a member of PVDA for 30 years, and volunteered for RFL in the past, this year is especially poignant as her sister-in-law was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and in her honor, volunteered to be the Rider Donation Chair for this year’s competition.
PVDA Vice-President, RFL Raffle Chair and Sponsors Co-Chair
Mimi has been a member of PVDA for over ten years, and has served on the Board since 2014. This is her third year working on the Ride For Life Committee and she is Co-Chair of the Raffle and Sponsorship Opportunities for the show. Mimi is schooling her seven year old mare, Summer Sinclair, at 3rd level, and hopes to compete at this year’s Ride For Life – her favorite show of the season!
Mary Pat Hedges
PVDA Volunteer Coordinator and RFL Volunteer Chair
Mary-Pat just became a PVDA Board member in November 2015. A lifelong horse lover and dressage fanatic, she put her equestrian dreams on hold to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University and establish her nursing career. Through the immense support of her husband Sam, Mary-Pat was able to realize her dream by adopting her first horse in 2008 and her second in 2010. Watching Betty Thorpe maintain her drive to promote the art and sport of dressage even as she battled breast cancer inspired Mary-Pat to train Tinkerbell, her second equine adoption, in earnest. Although they are only showing at Training level and are just beginning to show at recognized shows, Mary-Pat is excited to honor Betty’s dedication to dressage by both riding Tink in the 2016 RFL and coordinating the volunteers who make this show happen. The fact that this two-day gathering of equestrian artist-athletes has generated funds to support a Surgical Oncology Fellowship is simply phenomenal!
PVDA Ride for Life Dancing Horse Challenge/Gala Visionary, Past RFL Co-Chair, Past RFL Sponsorship Co-Chair and Past Gala Chair
I began riding as an adult and never looked back. I immediately had a passion for horses and riding. When we purchased our farm, my husband and I decided to breed Hanoverians that then got me interested in and involved in riding dressage. I love the technicality of the sport as well as the artistry. My husband and I bred 34 horses over our time of breeding, predominately Hanoverian and some Oldenburg. It has been my pleasure to bring up some of those babies for my own riding partners and been the one to train them to the levels that they have achieved. I now have my Silver Medal as a result and will work toward my Gold. I have a similar passion toward the Johns Hopkins Breast Center and the overall cause of appropriate treatment of cancer patients and the hope for a cure from this disease. I have been amateur high pledge for the majority of the years that the Ride for Life has been in existence. My plan is to continue my fund raising efforts in support of this event.