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  • Writer's pictureBig Sky Public Relations

Hope for the Motherless on Mother’s Day

It is four days before Mother’s Day and Sarah Broussard is thinking about her mother, the late Rebecca “Becky” Broussard. “It’s bittersweet,” she says, reflecting on the holiday ahead. “There are many times that I find myself wanting to call my mom about something, whether it’s something my kids did or something I’m going through. I miss being able to do that. But at the same time, she taught me a lot. I try to live in a way that would make her proud.“

Of course, anyone who knows Sarah knows that her mother has much to be proud of: Since Becky’s passing in 2010, Sarah has gone on to honor her mother’s legacy in multiple ways. Not only did Sarah take over and ultimately grow The Event at Rebecca Farm, considered to be one of the largest equestrian triathlons in North America, but Sarah is also the brainchild of Halt Cancer at X, an initiative inspired by Becky that has raised more than quarter of a million dollars money for breast cancer research and support services. She is also the proud mother to two children: Tommye, 13, and Zander, 11.

But ask Sarah if she ever foresaw herself taking over The Event and she will tell you no, at least not at first. It took some nudging from her mom, she says. “I knew that each year (when the Event was held at Herron Park), I got more and more involved in the running of the show… And then when we moved to Rebecca Farm, [things got bigger] and my mom started saying things like, ‘One day you are going to be doing this, one day, this will be yours, you're going to be the organizer’ and for about 3 to 4 years, she kept saying that.”

Sarah’s day finally came when she was given the official reins to The Event. The first year was difficult, she says. “The biggest challenge was just realizing the enormity of the job, and learning all the things that I didn’t know.” Fortunately, Sarah had a stellar team supporting her. “It wasn't just one person, it was a really great group of people. Everyone stepped up to the plate to make it a very successful Event.”

Despite the success, Sarah’s life took a turn when Becky lost her battle with breast cancer in 2010. It was devastating, but Sarah was ultimately able to turn her grief into action by establishing Halt Cancer at X in 2012. During its inaugural year, Halt Cancer raised $50,000. “I was just in awe,” Sarah notes of that first year. “I was humbled, and really felt that my mom was being honored. To this day, [Halt Cancer’s success] is due wholly to the support of the eventing community and the support of the local community. It fills me with joy, all of it.”

Looking back, Sarah believes her mother would be thrilled with what she has accomplished. “I think she would be really happy with where we've come,” she says, noting that she is always working to make The Event better and something that falls in line with her mother’s vision. “I know that my mom really wanted a world-class venue, a top class event and each year, we prove to be that and continue to improve.”

When she's not honoring her mother through Halt Cancer at X or The Event, Sarah says she is able to keep the memory of her mother alive through other means, specifically with her kids. “My kids still have memories of her, which is good. We definitely still talk about her. A lot of times Tommye will say something and I'll say ‘Oh well, you know, your mama-mama (their nickname for Becky) did this or that’ so those stories are still there, and I think that’s important.”

At the same time, Sarah says Becky impacted how she raised her own children, even if she didn’t immediately realize it. “For many women, we don't realize how much our mother shapes us until we are older, and oftentimes mothers ourselves,” she says. “There are definitely things that I want to emulate from my mother [like her strength and independence].”

It is these same characteristics that Sarah hopes to teach her children. “As a mother, I try and instill good qualities within [my kids], qualities that I find important, and qualities that I think my mother would have me instill in them,” Sarah says. “At the same time, I want to let them know that I am always there for them. I am their biggest advocate but I will also be the one that makes them question what they do or how they do it.”

Of course, Sarah understands that, like her, many find themselves – for lack of a better term – motherless on Mother’s Day. For those people, Sarah has this advice: “I would say to remember your mother, the good and the bad, and know that because of her actions, you are the person you are. Be proud of the person you are, as your mother would be.”

As for Sarah’s plans this Mother’s Day? “All I know is that I am going to spend the day with my kids… I am sure they are planning some kind of surprise [for me],” she laughs. “I have no doubt.”

Sarah (center) with her two kids, Zander (left) and Tommye (right)

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