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Horse Event Held To Raise Awareness For Breast Cancer

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RALEIGH — Horse lovers and top equestrians are gathering at the Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh this weekend. It is the first time the Region One Dressage Championships have been held in Raleigh, but this particular event has a special message.

Raleigh equestrian Kay Meredith knows how to face a challenge. Meredith has helped her horse, Main Event, overcome his fears enough to be a national leader in the elite dance-like training of dressage.

But 14 years ago, Meredith faced a greater challenge -- a mass in her breast.

"The doctor said you don't need a mammogram, you had one last year, and I said, 'No, I want one,' and so I had a lumpectomy," she says.

Meredith's tumor was benign, but Kim Fox was not so lucky. Six years ago, she found a cancerous lump and needed a mastectomy.

"I felt as though someone had just pushed me off a cliff and I was waiting to hit bottom," she says.

Like thousands of others, Fox survived. Now, she is helping to dedicate this weekend's Region 1 Dressage Championship in Raleigh to Breast Cancer Awareness. Riders are wearing pink ribbons and organizers are raising money to encourage women to take charge of their own health -- much like an equestrian takes charge in dressage.

"This is a frivilous sport as opposed to a life or death issue, but they both take hard work and they both take discipline," says show manager Sandi Leggett.

Fox says her experience has put her life in perspective. A problem with one of her horse's shoes may keep the pair from competing this weekend after all their training. It may be a disappoinment, but it is not the end of the world.

"There are other weekends and there are other shows. There is the rest of my life," she says.

There will be a dunking booth and silent auction Saturday to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. Kay Yow, North Carolina State women's basketball coach and breast cancer survivor, will also take part in the festivities.