Horseback Riding Coast to Coast for a Cause - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Horseback Riding Coast to Coast for a Cause

ROSALIA, Wash. - On Mother's day, a woman set off on a 5,000-mile coast-to-coast journey on horseback, riding in honor of her late mother, as well as others who have lost their lives to the disease or are still fighting it.

Tracy Delp, of Port Orchard, said the idea struck three years ago after her mom, Millie Delp, survived colon cancer but later died from pancreatic cancer.

"Literally, it just popped into my head," she said.

This year, she convinced her riding partner Dan Shanafelt, of Renton, to make the journey with her. Their route during the next eight months will take them from Ocean Shores on the west coast through three major mountain ranges, across 13 states, Washington DC and places with names like the Wilderness of No Return. Their journey will finally end in Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware.

"The first three letters of cancer are 'can'. And maybe if we focus on what we can do, maybe make it easier for those of us who've been affected by it," Delp explained.

So each day, the pair saddle up with a few horses, a mule and a trailer. They rotate the horses every so often so they don't get too tired. Bit by bit, they head east averaging 15 miles a day.

"People would ask, they're like"this is a huge undertaking' and my response was always, 'Really?' Because in my mind, it wasn't."

But so far, the journey has been full of obstacles.

"Don't get me wrong," she continued. "There are days I'm sitting here and I'm like 'Why am I doing this? This is nuts.' Because we've been in spots where you don't know where you're going to stay, you don't know where the food's going to come from."

On Sunday, for instance, the team was stuck at fairgrounds in Rosalia waiting for a farrier to repair some of the horses' shoes that had worn thin.

"Oh, here we go again," she chuckled.

But even delays have their silver-linings. Delp said she's been overwhelmed by the community support and generosity of strangers she meets along the way who have offered everything from hay and water for the horses to places to stay for the night. The farrier replacing the horse shoes donated his services as his friends had been touched by cancer too.

For Delp, it was another reminder of the cause. "It's not just for one cancer, it's all of them. Because we are all affected in the same way," Delp said. "You meet somebody and you're like 'This is why I'm doing it because they give you that initiative back."

They group still has more than 4,000 miles to go before they reach Delaware. But there's no turning back. Just paying it forward.

"This is life-changing, life changing."

The group does not have any corporate sponsors. The team is paying for this all on their own. If you want to help with money or gas donations, offer a place to stay for the night, food for the horses or just want to follow their journey across the country, check out Delp's website Coast 2 Coast for Cancer: Coast2coastforcancer.webs.com.

Tracy's phone number is 360-895-8800

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