Filly 'Pink Ribbons' Runs for Cancer Patients

Pink Ribbons is a racehorse with a special purpose. A portion of the filly's winnings go to help cancer patients in Toledo, Ohio. Owners Nancy Greenfield and June White have each faced breast cancer.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This weekend, a three-year-old filly named Pink Ribbons will compete in the most important race of her short career. She will attempt to qualify for Hambletonian Oaks, which is the most prestigious sulky race in the nation and run at a trot. Hambletonian Oaks offers a $750,000 purse, which is what they call prize money in horse racing. But Pink Ribbons is competing for something more. A portion of her earnings helps breast cancer patients in Toledo, Ohio. Pink Ribbons is partly owned by two women who were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. Nancy Greenfield is one of Pink Ribbons' owners and a nurse by day. She's at member station WGTE in Toledo, Ohio.

Thank you very much for being with us.

Ms. NANCY GREENFIELD (Pink Ribbons Co-owner): Thank you, Scott.

SIMON: How did you and your co-owner, June White, end up as horse owners?

Ms. GREENFIELD: Actually, it's through our husbands who are--have been friends in the past. Once June and I were both diagnosed with cancer--she was diagnosed early in 2002 and I was diagnosed later that year. By the time I was diagnosed, she had already had her surgeries and already gone through chemotherapy. So she would come and visit me and kind of help me through the phase that I was just starting. And at that time, my husband decided to buy a horse; the name was DJ Babe. He had watched her for years and at her side was a baby, who is now Pink Ribbons. After I started feeling a little bit better, then the husbands decided that it would be a good idea to have this horse become June's horse and mine. They felt that it would give us something to look forward to.

SIMON: And Pink Ribbons is a talented horse.

Ms. GREENFIELD: We didn't know that. We didn't know that at first. All I knew is she was a lot of fun and a lot of fun, very pretty. And as we have found out, she is just getting better with each race. And we're hoping she continues to do that.

SIMON: She's a trotter, not a thoroughbred, and I guess we need to explain to our audience that the trotters are the horses that pull harnesses.

Ms. GREENFIELD: Yes. Yes. She pulls a sulky. She's a harness racehorse.

SIMON: And pulls their driver in a--I always thought...

Ms. GREENFIELD: Right.

SIMON: ...it looked a little bit like a reverse wheelbarrow.

Ms. GREENFIELD: Yes.

SIMON: But then I'm not a racing man.

Ms. GREENFIELD: Right.

SIMON: And how much money, may I ask, has Pink Ribbons won?

Ms. GREENFIELD: Well, to date, she has won $140,000.

SIMON: And so that's helped breast cancer treatment?

Ms. GREENFIELD: Yes. Actually, I had gone to a center here in Toledo; it's called the Victory Center. They have a lot of different things to offer for cancer patients. And I had gone there during the time that I was going through chemotherapy to help me get through that. The reflexology helped a lot with the nausea and vomiting that I experienced. The massage helped with, you know, some of the other pain and discomfort that I was having after my surgery and reconstruction. So--and then, I think it was actually June that came up with the idea to donate a percentage of this money to the Victory Center since that is something that I had utilized. And, you know, we were hoping that Pink Ribbons would, you know, do well so that we could give more. And it just has turned out to be very exciting for us to see her win and to know that there's a percentage of that money that goes directly to that center.

SIMON: May I ask, if you don't mind, Ms. Greenfield, how are you and June White feeling?

Ms. GREENFIELD: I think the biggest problem is fatigue, lack of energy, you know. Other than that, we feel great. And we certainly went--you know, when we see--watch Pink Ribbons race, you don't even think about being sick.

SIMON: Ms. Greenfield, thanks so much for your time and good luck to you and to Pink Ribbons.

Ms. GREENFIELD: OK. Well, thank you.

SIMON: Nancy Greenfield in Toledo, Ohio.

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