EAF Grant Helps Trainer Along Path to Recovery



Last April, Reno-based trainer and horsewoman Sue Leep walked into a local medical clinic feeling short of breath. Days later, she received a devastating diagnosis: her body was not only battling pneumonia, but stage 3 lung cancer as well.

The closest recommended treatment facility was in Phoenix, Arizona. The intricacies and contingencies of health insurance and treatment plans, however, necessitated a substantial down payment and residency in the state. The hurdles were surmountable with the help of California trainer Traci Brooks, who sprang into action on her friend’s behalf. “She gave me all the avenues,” said Sue. “She started a Go Fund Me and put me in touch with the Equestrian Aid Foundation. It was all really immediate.”

A grant from EAF helped Sue afford her rent in Arizona, along with food, transportation, and other essentials while she was in treatment at MD Anderson.  “The treatment was brutal but worth it,” she said. “The quality of my recovery was unbelievably enhanced just by having some financial help.”

With her cancer in remission, Sue will spend the coming year undergoing immunotherapy treatments under the watchful eye of her team of doctors. For the time being, she is unable to work. When her course of immunotherapy is complete, she plans to return to her native Chicago, where she values her longstanding friendships within the area’s hunter-jumper community.

In light of this difficult and unexpected journey, Sue remains grateful—for the support she received from her community, for the Equestrian Aid Foundation, and for new friends she made along the way. “So many things just fell into place,” she said. “Good things happened.”