PVDA Ride for Life

PVDA Ride for Life Management Team

Pat Artimovich

Pat Artimovich

Founder & Visionary, Sponsors

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.

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Heather Bair

Marketing Chair

Heather has spent her entire life around horses. Having grown up in Woodbine, Maryland on her parent’s horse farm, you could say that she was raised in a barn. Heather attended Western Maryland College where she earned her bachelors degree. In addition to her work in the horseback-riding arena she has enjoyed a career in the marketing, public relations and customer service arena for over 12 years. Aside from her experience with and love for horses, Heather is also passionate about working with and mentoring children and has made doing so a prominent part of her work and volunteer activities.

Heather’s college roommate and lifelong friend, Christy Andrusis, served as an inspiration for her to join the Ride for Life cavalry. Christy’s mother, Cheryl Veneziani, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and against all odds beat the disease, remaining cancer free for 5 years. Sadly, in 1997 Cheryl’s cancer returned and after fighting the stage 4 diagnosis for over 10 years she unfortunately succumbed to the disease. The joy of listening to Christy and her family share their cherished memories of Cheryl is marred only by the pain of loss that inevitably surrounds the bereavement of a loved one lost.

The Ride for Life organization not only donates money toward research and prevention, but also funds programs that provide support to those suffering with the disease as well as their family members. By supporting a multifaceted organization that takes the approach that no man or woman should be left behind, Heather hopes to do her part in helping to ease some of the pain felt by all those touched by breast cancer.

Meridith Hurd

Meredith Hurd
Marketing Assistant

Meridith has been riding and training horses for most of her life. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Goucher College where she took her love of horses to school, and competed with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association at the regional, zone and national level. After college, she pursued a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College, and is currently working as an office manager in the medical field. Meridith’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and after almost 2 years of treatment shows no evidence of the disease. Meridith enjoys volunteering her time on the Ride for Life Horse Show Committee, as it is the perfect combination of pursing her passion of horses and her determination to support her mom and such a meaningful cause.

Shari Glickman

Shari and Ness

Silent Auction

Shari Glickman was the show manager for the first Ride for Life show held in 2004 and has enjoyed her involvement in the fund raising efforts of the PVDA Ride for Life since. Shari has chaired the Silent Auction each year and has also ridden her mare in the show. Like many of the competitors and volunteers, Shari has had a number of friends diagnosed and treated for breast cancer—many of whom she met as a direct result of her association with horses and through the Ride for Life Show participation.

Two years ago, Shari’s relationship with the PVDA Ride for Life became more poignant when her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her sister lives locally and was treated at a hospital affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Shari feels especially comforted that the Ride for Life’s fundraising efforts have paved the way for her sister’s recovery.

Lillian Shockney

Lillie Shockney

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!”

Jocelyn Pearson

Jocelyn Pearson
PVDA President

Jocelyn Pearson has been a member of PVDA for 39 years. She joined while attending
the Horsemasters’ Course at Potomac Horse Center in 1973. After a 25 year career
with the U.S. Secret Service in Washington, D.C., she now spends her time volunteering
for PVDA and running her 35 acre farm in Leesburg, Va. At the farm she gives riding
lessons and test practice. On the weekends she officiates as a dressage schooling show
judge at area competitions.

Jocelyn fondly remembers when a shy Pat Artimovich first approached her with an idea for a small fundraiser for breast cancer. She encouraged Pat to present her idea for
the Ride for Life to the PVDA Board of Directors…the rest is history! Pat’s idea was
especially important to Jocelyn. Her mother had bravely fought breast cancer for 16
years with many surgeries and complications. Jocelyn was her sole caregiver. This is for
my mom, Leota Mary Pearson.

Betty Thorpe

Betty Thorpe

PVDA Secretary and Past PVDA President

Betty is president of Suburban Air Conditioning where she works with national accounts. Her connection with breast cancer runs deep. Within her family, both a niece and a cousin were diagnosed with the disease and have survived. Then breast cancer hit more personally in 2009, when she was diagnosed with the disease and had a mastectomy. As a survivor she comments, “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 has ridden in the Ride for Life for three years and has written about the Ride in the PVDA newsletter since its inception. Betty intends to ride again this year for the cause!

Jeannette Bair

Jeannette Bair

Corporate Sponsors & Gala Chair

Jeannette worked professionally for Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman) as hiring
manager and then as Executive Director responsible for developing new business opportunities and finally for Prometric, working with clients such as Microsoft and the
FAA. Today, in retirement, she enjoys riding and training her dressage horses.

Her connection with breast cancer is deep with both maternal and paternal sides of the family being afflicted. Her sister had breast cancer
and after receiving treatment she is now cancer free. Jeannette also lost a very close friend, Bari von
Beudingen many years ago to misdiagnosed breast cancer. Bari taught her so much about dressage, breeding horses and about having profound courage in difficult times. Jeannette has gotten involved with the Ride for Life through her friendship with Pat Artimovich and admires Pat’s courage and determination to bring light into the lives of those affected. Jeannette has ridden as well as volunteered at the Ride for Life for seven out of the nine years of its existence and will be volunteering again this year. She has been High Pledge Amateur for seven of those ten years. She will ride again this year.

Michele Wellman

Michele Wellman
Ride for Life and Dancing Horse Challenge Chair

Michele co-owns and manages By Chance Farm LLC, a horse boarding and training facility with her mother, Charlene Cherry. Based in Union Bridge, Maryland, Michele works full time during the day, at the farm in the evening and devotes her spare time to PVDA as Dancing Horse Challenge Chair, Ride for Life Co-Chair and Board Member. Inspired by the strength of her grandmother who has battled breast cancer for many years; Michele plunged head long into the Ride for Life event in 2010 and hasn’t looked back. In 2013, she hopes to help PVDA reach the $100,000 donation mark for John’s Hopkins which will be used to improve the quality of life of survivors like her grandmother.

Karen Jacob

Merchandising & Vendor Chair

Born and raised in Annapolis, Karen’s first love was the horse, any horse, it didn’t matter to her how ugly or untrained, if it smelled like a horse had four legs and a tail, she rode it. At the late age of 17 she learned about the United States Pony Club and joined her local club. Her favorite discipline was combined training (dressage, cross country jumping and stadium jumping) and dressage was just a means to be allowed to jump. Her first dressage lesson was taught by long time PVDA member, Linda Speer, and from there the love/hate battle of dressage was under her skin. Karen married in 1997 to her devoted non-horsey husband, Lance. They bought a farmette in Howard County where Lance took a crash course on horses. Together they have 2 wonderful sons, Erik (9) and Evan (7), both of whom have their own adorable ponies. She left the corporate world to be a stay at home mom and focus on raising the boys.

A member of PVDA since the ’80′s, in 2002 Karen joined the Board of Directors for PVDA and in 2007 she volunteered to help out at the Ride for Life. Her role has taken on some changes from just counting the Bribe the Judges (what is now the Dancing Horse Challenge) to being the Merchandise Chairperson and taking care of the Saturday evening finances (including the Dancing Horse Challenge, Admission to the DHC, the Silent Auction, etc) and in 2012 Karen took on the additional role of Vendor Chair.

When friends and family ask why Karen devotes so many hours to the planning of the merchandise (which often takes hours of family time), her reply is that she has been blessed that no one in her immediate family has been stricken with breast cancer. If the work she does today can help make her boys future a little brighter (thinking ahead of future daughter-in-laws), it is all worth the effort and time. In 2011 she did have a breast cancer scare of her own, which thankfully proved to be just that, a scare. Karen also spends a great deal of time volunteering at her sons elementary school, working with children with special needs and instructing one of the local Pony Clubs each summer.

Karen was lucky enough to ride her horse, Trotzkopf, at the 2009 Ride for Life. After several weeks of intense lessons from her instructor, Roy Toppings, who works out of Evergreen Farm in Fulton, she packed her gear, scrubbed her horse and headed to PGE for the weekend. It was a thrill to go down center line astride “Toby” her ISR/ Oldenburg gelding. She hopes she can ride at the show once again, either on his full sister, Traumerle, or on her R4L Foal, born in 2012. Karen was the lucky winner of the generosity of Wendy & Marty Costello, owners of Kent Island Sport Horses, who donated a breeding to ES Donavan to the very successful 2011 Silent Auction!

Come meet Karen at the show this June. She will be running between the merchandise booth and helping vendors get set for a great weekend. She hopes that this year the merchandise and vendors will be busier than ever since our Dancing Horse Challenge has been so well attended the past several years and this year looks to be just as spectacular thanks to all the hard work and many long hours our members have put into making this benefit and show so great to attend and ride in!

Carolyn DelGrosso

Carolyn DelGrosso

Treasurer

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!

Rebekah Lusk

Chairperson 

Rebekah Lusk is an attorney with Thienel Law Firm, LLC, based in Columbia, Maryland. Her practice focuses on business law, litigation, landlord/tenant law, real estate, family law, and equine and animal law. Rebekah is a native Washingtonian and comes from a long line of DC business owners. In addition to being an attorney, she has continued her family’s entrepreneurial tradition by founding a home improvement company with her husband, a property development and management company with her family, and operating a boarding farm, Windy Oak Farm, LLC. Rebekah’s law practice affords her the opportunity to work from home (on the days when she is not in court), which gives her the flexibility to manage her other companies, care for the horses, and ride!
Rebecca Lusk

Rebekah started riding at age 7 at summer camp in Virginia. She fell in love with riding and horses and started taking lessons throughout the year. After her family moved to Darnestown, MD when she was in 4th grade, her parents bought her first horse, a green Thoroughbred off the race track. In middle school and high school, she rode hunters, jumpers, and participated in Pony Club, riding in her first event at age 10. Rebekah attended college in Chicago where she still couldn’t stay away from horses. When Rebekah returned to Maryland in 2003, she started leasing a TB Cross mare and purchased her about a year later. Rebekah has successfully Evented through Training level and started focusing much of her training on learning Dressage skills and started competing at First Level during the summer of 2011. Rebekah was elected to the board of the Potomac Valley Dressage Association in November of 2011 and currently holds the position of Chairman. As part of her involvement on the PVDA board, she is the chair of the Governance Committee and the Fundraising and Marketing Committee. Rebekah’s grandmother died of breast cancer when she was young and has many friends and acquaintances who are breast cancer survivors.

When Rebekah is not working, riding, running the farm or donating her time to community activities, she enjoys hiking with her husband and dogs, sailing, swimming, bike riding, practicing Yoga and traveling.