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!”
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!
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!
Vice President, Sponsor Chair
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!
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.