First published in the December 2017 Equiery

by Crystal Pickett

It started with a prayer…
And then the journey.
One sturdy hoof-step at a time and one heart full of hope.
On Sunday, October 7, Tom Cashman and Homer The Mule left West Friendship… eight days and approximately 900 miles later they arrived in Memphis, Tennessee.

Why Memphis?
Memphis is best know as the home of Graceland, but Memphis is also a land of grace and home to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. A place where potentially terminal illnesses are valiantly fought. A place where there is never a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food – for the patient or the family – and a place where Tom and his family spent too many long days and even longer nights as doctors struggled to save the life of his 14 year old granddaughter, Erin Nicole Myers. Erin eventually did succumb to the ravages of cancer on April 3, 2012.

Tom left Maryland with the hope of raising $5,000 for St. Jude’s. Tom was determined to “pay forward” that kindness his family experienced by raising money for the future families St. Jude’s will host until such centers are no longer needed.

Why now, five years later?
Because Tom just retired as manager of Chanceland Farm, the Thoroughbred breeding and training facility owned by Bob Manfuso and Katy Voss in West Friendship, and this ride is Tom’s first “To Do” on his bucket list. Actually, his mule Homer just retired too, as it was his job to help Tom break the yearlings.

Why a mule?
Because Erin loved to ride Homer around Chanceland.

The Equiery was there for Tom and Homer’s send-off ceremony and posted live coverage on Facebook of their first mile or so along Route 144 with a link to their fundraising site. Equiery readers enthusiastically followed Tom and Homer’s journey on Facebook. His goal was $5,000…but the check Tom handed to St. Jude’s was closer to $10,000!

Thank you, Equiery readers!
Merry Christmas!