March 2, 2016

We Got Your Back, Shack!

I remember hearing the words for the first time and not knowing whether to scream or cry.

Ginger has Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

In that moment, that first few seconds of hearing the news- I knew if I couldn't take it away from her...heal her, fix her...then I had to do something to help- something to take her mind off of the scary and onto the happy.

I messaged my cowgirl sister and Dignified Cowgirls partner immediately.

"OMG Our Ginger?! Yes, let's make shirts, do a ride, whatever we can," Danielle replied.

Within two weeks, our shirt design was complete and we had the ball rolling for a fun show or trail ride, or both. It wasn't a question of how we were going to do it- it wasn't a question at all, we were doing it.

That's the thing about cowgirls. There is nothing we can't do. We can manhandle 1200lb animals, move 500lb round bales, mend fences and haul trailers. We can fight with the best of them. When told we can't, we will prove we can. We don't ask for help often- but always know when it needs to be given. 

As the weeks progressed, we found out how incredible our little island really is as we planned the We Got Your Back, Shack! fun show. There was no "We can't donate this time..." it was always "Whatever you need...just tell us what you need and we will get it for you. This family is too special to not be 100% behind them through this."

We had everything from silent auction items to cash donations. Sponsors were coming out of the woodwork to help us- but it had nothing to do with us and everything to do with the Shackelfords. When I think of the kind of family God would look down and say "They get it...they're doing my work everyday, they look out for others, they're kind and genuine..." I think of the Shackelfords. {My husband and I say all the time that there are two people in this world that you can talk to and feel like you just spoke to Jesus himself- Omie Tillet and Britton Shackelford.}

Friday afternoon we got the keys to the indoor arena and began setting up. In the quiet dark arena, moments flashed through my mind. 
 -The first time I met Ginger- Christmas morning, when she got her first horse. 
 -Bareback horse rides around Wanchese with her, laughing and telling stories about her future career as a professional barrel racer. 
 -Doing her senior pictures- and making her smile her smile while she controlled her horses who weren't so sure about the waves in the sound. 
 -Hearing her stories from the NBHA Youth World trips...because she took a young cowgirl's dream and made it a reality. 

"Tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day. I want Ginger to have so much fun that she looks back on the day & forgets that she had Hodgkin's Lymphoma..."

The morning of the show began early. Donned in our pink Dignified Cowgirls hoodies and our sparkley zebra boots- Danielle and I were like kids on Christmas morning! As the trailers started rolling in and registrations began getting filled out- one thing was for certain...our dreams of it being a great day were going to come true. Cowboys and cowgirls were in attendance from all over North Carolina and Virginia. My heart was already overwhelmed- then in walked our cowgirl...smiling from ear to ear.


If you've ever seen a genuine Ginger smile, you know it is contagious. It is the kind of smile you see with your eyes and feel instantly in your heart. It's impossible to be in a bad mood around that kind of smile. That smile is what we worked for- that made all the work we put into the show worth it. 

Throughout the day we laughed and smiled so much my face was sore. We had some tearful {squeaky} moments- but they weren't tears of sadness...they were proud tears. They were WE will beat this tears- because we were all in agreeance that our cowgirl isn't fighting this battle alone.

We have all been thanked over and over for putting together this show. The best thank you came to us from Ginger's family...they thanked us for everything- but mostly for restoring Ginger's smile and glow. I want to thank our community, our sponsors, every single person who attended on Saturday- with your help...our community raised over to $5000 for Ginger!! And in MORE good news- Ginger had her last chemo treatment yesterday!! We are so proud of you, Booey...round that barrel, sit back & bring it on home, baby!!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful day and you documented it so well. THANK-YOU!