Courtesy of College of St. Joseph
Muffie Harvey rides her horse in front of St. Joseph Hall.
RUTLAND—College of St. Joseph Food Service Director Muffie Harvey is preparing to hoof it across Vermont once again as she and her new horse, Joe, raise money for breast cancer research with “Ride for a Cure.” Her journey will begin sometime in mid-June, once she and Joe become a little more comfortable with each other.
Harvey’s mother, Carol Klein, was diagnosed with breast cancer when Harvey was just 15 years old. Harvey, who uses words like “beautiful” and “vibrant” to describe her mother, says her mother’s diagnosis “rocked the foundation of my world.” After that defining moment, she knew that at some point in her life, she wanted to make a difference in fighting the disease.
Then, 18 years later, Klein was diagnosed again with breast cancer.
In 2010, after falling in love with a sweet Appaloosa mare named Molly, Harvey decided that it was time to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer, as she had promised herself to do years ago. She decided to make the roughly 200 mile trek from Bennington to Burlington on horseback, hoping the attention surrounding her ride would raise awareness for cancer research and encourage individuals to donate.
Harvey’s first trip was a learning experience, but one that came with great reward.
“When I got to Church Street, there was this woman, she had to be at least 85, who was off on the side waiting,” she said. “She was sobbing, and asked if she could give me a hug. Then she said, ‘Thank you for your efforts. I’m a three-time survivor.’ “
That, Harvey said, was another defining moment in her life. She told the woman she would do the ride each year, as long as she physically could. That first year, Harvey and Molly raised $35,000 for charities, including the American Cancer Society.
Harvey includes a campus tour in her journey, beginning at her alma mater, Southern Vermont College in Bennington, followed by the College of St. Joseph in Rutland and the University of Vermont in Burlington.
This year, Harvey and Joe will travel roughly 15 miles a day, with about 100 miles on Route 7 and the other 100 on quieter country roads. She will be wearing pink for the ride, in honor of all those who fight and have fought against breast cancer.
In a presentation to CSJ students, she further explained her motivation for the ride: “I know what I’m doing won’t make a difference for my generation, but it will for you. I’m doing this for your children, and for their children.” The best and most important thing anyone can do is to give back. “Find a platform that touches your soul and be the change,” she said.
Those interested in supporting Harvey in her journey are encouraged to donate to the American Cancer Society.