I don’t have the words to describe how much of a jerk I am.

I don’t have the words to describe how much of a jerk I am.

Yesterday was day 20-something straight at work due to NFR, etc… We were scrambling to get all the remaining inventory online for the annual After NFR Sale, I had a vet appt. at 1:00 to ultrasound and see how badly my good barrel horse’s leg was jacked up due to getting it caught in a fence the day after I left for Vegas, I haven’t had time to Christmas shop or get a tree, and I was just cranky and sour. Life seemed overwhelming, and I was actually kind of having a pity party, truth be told. 

The day before, my husband Jim had emailed to let me know we’d received a FB message about a gal who we might be able to help, and would I look into it as I always do. But I hadn’t. I was too busy and just didn’t feel like it. 

A little before lunch, between emails I was hurriedly replying to, I decided to click on the link Jim had forwarded. I was instantly compelled. So I shot the lady’s husband a message, and asked him if he’d mind giving me a call as I’d like to chat with him. 

What followed was a conversation that I will never forget. 

Rick told me about his wife Janalyn. About the charismatic, infectiously positive woman that he married. Talented horse trainer, with a stellar reputation and huge work ethic. Her accomplishments as a vocalist, including American Idol, and her love of singing the National Anthem at rodeos. His admiration for his wife was palpable and he laughed telling me about the chicken “Stewart” Janalyn insists allowing to live in the house (complete with diaper) since his fellow chickens died and he was lonely. 

He told me about the day this June that Janalyn was at the barn instructing a new employee on stall chores a suddenly lost her speech and ability to use her cell phone. The MRI’s that followed found a large brain tumor. A tumor the initial doctor felt was slow growing enough to push surgery out a few months, only to discover that this particular type of cancer was, in fact, extremely aggressive, and emergency surgery should have been performed immediately. 

Tho the tumor was detected in June, surgery didn’t occur until November, at which point it had already grown 8%. Janalyn’s cancer is called Glioblastoma. It’s a wicked, sinister form of cancer that less than 5% of people survive. She is Stage 4, and there isn’t a Stage 5. Janalyn has been given 6-12 months to live. She will be undergoing chemo and radiation, not to attempt to cure her, but to simply slow the progression, if possible, as it’s not a question of IF the cancer will return, but WHEN. 

And this isn’t the first time Janalyn has had brain surgery. 

When she was 12 years old she had a brain tumor removed, and did not undergo chemo or radiation afterwards. A team of experts studying Janalyn’s case say no other person has been known to survive more than 8 years. She is a miracle.

She’s also a mother. Her son Elijah is 11 years old and Janalyn is also step mom to Rick’s 15 year old daughter. You see, 8 years ago Rick’s wife died of a blood clot. So this isn’t the first time Rick, or his daughter, have gone down this road. And the thought of what they are again facing makes me a little mad at God to be honest. 

At the end of our conversation I asked Rick what their plans are going forward, and his response made my heart skip a beat. 

You see, they aren’t planning for her funeral, or making plans for after she is gone. No. They are getting horses tuned and ready to hit the rodeo trail starting in February. He told me they aren’t sure how long they’ll be able to do it, but it’s the one dream she’s always had that she’d never pursued as it was “never her time”. Until now. Janalyn is going to live her life… every, single minute of it. 

As soon as I got off the phone with Rick I told the crew here at HB that we were switching gears. We were going to be spending the rest of the week building product for the biggest Benefit Auction we’ve ever done. 

So, tomorrow, December 20th, 2019 at 5pm PST we’re going to join together with you and the rest of the amazing HB fans, and we’re going to do a Live FB auction for Janalyn. There will be tons of items, from Marilyn bags, to tack sets, with every penny going to Janalyn. My hope is that we can help lessen the financial burden from medical bills, and more importantly, pay a few entry fees and fill the gas tank for her as she hits the road and lives her dreams. 

Yesterday was just the gut check I needed. It brought me to my knees in many ways, and I’m so incredibly thankful for beautiful people like Janalyn and her husband Rick that can turn a tragedy into inspiration. 

Thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow.  ~Jess

Previous post Next post


  • Patty Brus 08:17 AM

    Amazing heart.

Leave a comment