A FAMILY DIAGNOSIS BEGINS A TRADITION OF GIVING
There are two thing that have always been constant in the life of Katie Benson — horses and Hunterdon Medical Center. Katie grew up in Stanton, riding her horse in her neighbor’s yard and taking lessons at Briarwood Farm. It was there where she met John W. “Jack” Benson, who was her trainer and coach. Jack had owned Briarwood Farm for several years and was a passionate competitor. After returning from college, Katie and Jack married in 1990. Katie’s mom was a nurse at Hunterdon Medical Center with 19 years of service. Her father was diagnosed with cancer in 1990 and sadly, passed in 1997 before Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center opened its doors in 1999.
In 2009 the Bensons were approached by a nationally reputable horse show management group and asked to host a new elite, specialty class at one of their horse shows. They were honored and excited and began making preparations. What they were not prepared for was the devastating news of Jack’s diagnosis of stage four, inoperable lung cancer. He immediately began treatment at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center. In February, 2010, Jack lost his battle with cancer. “After what we went through with Dad, we really appreciated what it means to have exceptional cancer care so close to home.”
Katie and her team made the decision to move forward with the horse show in July 2010. Rather than do the show without Jack, they would do the show for Jack to benefit Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center. And so, Derby Day began. Approaching its 9th year, the event has raised over $250,000 to date. It is a day of Equestrian Sport and Generosity in memory of Jack Benson.