Cayer, a long-time horse woman, was in the news again in March of 2009, when the then 44 year old suffered a stroke.
The stroke paralyzed her right arm, face, mouth, shoulder, torso and right leg. At the time, she said, “It felt like ice cold water and boiling water being surged through my veins right down the center of my body all at the same time.”
Cayer’s girlfriend who witnessed the stroke ran and got Lee’s husband Mike who was outside. Lee was whisked off by ambulance and received treatment with PA, a new clot busting drug that she credits with saving her life. “Within 6 minutes I could move my finger tips, six hours later I was moving my arm,” said Lee. “I realize now the importance of timing is with a stroke. For me it was the difference between a lengthy hospital stay and months of physical rehab or walking out of ICU on my own two feet, two days later.”
Cayer became a spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke foundation and has continued to improve.
“My health is good.” updated Lee, “I am getting better and better everyday. I have come a long way in 2 years. I continue to watch my diet and exercise very closely (mostly to stay fit to ride) The change of life has brought some challenges as Hormone Replacement Treatment (HRT) is deadly to a stroke patient but bio-identical hormones are safer. And I feel fantastic!”
This month is Heart and Stroke Month in Saskatchewan, a fitting time for Lee to release a line of jewelry that will support the Saskatchewan Heart and Stroke Foundation.
This spring, Lee began making and selling her own line of jewelry, L2 Cowgirl Jewelry Co. “Our signature piece ‘Riding on Faith” (copyright and patent protected) can be viewed as either a cross or for what it is: the barrel racing pattern. I started making the “Riding on Faith” charms as a way to bring ladies to our booth at the Coronach trade fair when their husbands would be looking at Mike’s panels and hay baling system. Little did I know that I would sell a few hundred dollars the first day! Since then, it has taken off. The beading I really enjoy but it’s the charms that I love to make. I am in the process of copyright and patent red-tape with the lawyer but it looks promising.”
Lee will be promoting her line of jewelry on Facebook and through her website www.mystrokestory.com. Lee is pleased to report that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Saskatchewan Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Lee has such an important story to tell others about how urgent stroke is,” says Rhae Ann Bromley, Communications Director for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “She has an amazing network of friends and colleagues in the rodeo world, and has launched a line of jewelery that links her passion for barrel racing with support for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. We are very grateful to her, as she is donating a portion of the proceeds from sale of these pieces to support the Foundation’s vital work.”
Lee’s daughters, Hannah and Amy and friend Becky from Williams Lake are on board helping Lee sell, design and create the jewelry. “Since barrel racing jewelry has been done to death, we feel this is a fresh, beautiful and unique celebration of our passion. As long as there are 3 barrels or any type of pattern to be rode, we will always be ‘Riding on Faith’,” said Lee.
Lee is looking forward to sharing her jewelry at the Arts in the Park day at Rockglen on the 11th of June.
As for the ranch, things are still busy there too. “The ranch is always busy with horses coming and going. We are riding almost everyday.” reported Lee.
Cayers’ family has grown to include two new grandchildren. “Now the grandkids are really getting going too. My two youngest granddaughters (10 months and 3 years) have caught the barrel racing bug and that’s just fine by me!!!” said Lee.