Alexandria, Louisiana – Organizers of the Fourth Annual CHRISTUS Cabrini Cancer Center Patient Assistance Fund Barrel Race are pleased to announce a successful run for the 2020 event. Nearly 600 participants traveled from across the country to compete at the Beauregard Closed Arena in DeRidder and helped usher in close to $40,000 to support the Patient Assistance Fund.
The benefit is a vision of Scott Wells who turned a cancer diagnosis back in 2015 into a mission to help other cancer patients.
“I just saw other patients who needed help, and I wanted to do something, so while at the hospital I asked if there was a fund that I could donate to that specifically was used for patients,” said Wells, a CHRISTUS Cabrini Cancer Center Patient.
His plan to give back made great use of his country roots, knowledge of rodeoing and his daughter’s barrel racing days. He decided to reach out to his friend, Heather Bertrand, owner of Turnin’ 3 Productions. With her guidance, his vision of a barrel race benefit became reality.
“She taught me how to put on the show,” said Wells. “With her help this event continues to grow. I’m not someone who can write a giant check or help out like that financially, so this event is my way to give back to people here, locally.”
The barrel race is wildly popular with riders from across the country because of the prize money and awards. It is recognized by the Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) and the Better Barrel Races Association (BBR). Prize money and points earned during the event count toward Nationals for participants who are members. The 2020 event was postponed twice, once due to Louisiana COVID-19 restrictions and once because of Hurricane Laura. Yet riders found way to adjust their schedules and show up.
In total, Friends of St. Frances Cabrini Cancer Center and Scott Wells have raised nearly $200,000 for the Patient Assistance Fund. The funds are used to provide transportation, gas, food and supplies to cancer patients. Wells never imagined the barrel race’s real impact on the Cancer Center and the community.
“It wasn’t until after the second year…that is when I realized we were doing something right. It was going to be big! I get tears in my eyes, every time I am able to present a check. It gives me drive to keep going.”
To help kick-off the 2020 race, Cancer Center Nurses and Cabrini Foundation staff joined Wells in a stick horse race across the arena.
“When Scott Wells presents us with a donation, it reminds me of how true success is measured. It is a metric of someone’s hard work and determination, even against all odds. In Scott’s case, it is a metric of the heart. His battle isn’t enough to cripple his generosity. These gifts allow us to further extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ by providing a need not always found in a treatment plan,” said Ashley Walker, Executive Director of Development, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Foundation.
The legacy Scott Wells created will help thousands of cancer patients in central Louisiana for years to come. He is already planning for the next go-round.
“Two months ago, I was told there was nothing left for me, and that my treatment options were exhausted. The barrel race will continue if something happens to me. Right now, I’m going to take a few weeks, rest and enjoy my family. Come January, I’ll be back at it to make 2021 the biggest event yet,” said Wells.
For more information on the CHRISTUS Cabrini Cancer Center Patient Assistance Fund call 318.528.6074.