Cancer crusader recovering after near fatal accident

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - During the first of September, Bob and Sharon Slayden began a cross-state ride on horseback to raise money for cancer victims. However, their ride of generosity was cut short when they stopped to help an E.M.T. outside El Paso, and Sharon was hit by a truck.

Sharon spent days in an El Paso hospital, but tonight, she and her husband are both back at home in Jacksonville.

They left East Texas nearly a month ago, heading for El Paso on horseback as "Cowboys Against Cancer."

Long days in the saddle, even rain were expected in the month long ride, but no one could prepare for the night of September 27.

"I never seen the guy coming and she didn't either, we didn't see headlights or nothing," said Bob.

Bob pulled his truck over to help a stranger with car trouble. Wife Sharon began to lead her horse shadow to the trailer. "I knew nothing from the time it happened to the time they had me in El Paso," said Sharon.

That's because D.P.S. says a car traveling close to 80 miles an hour crested a hill and collided with Sharon.

"I thought I lost her," said Bob.

Sharon was thrown into the trailer, her horse Shadow died almost instantly. No breath left Sharon's body for more than 2 minutes. Miraculously, she was revived by the stranger with car trouble, an off duty E.M.T. who called an ambulance.

"I don't know how fast that ambulance runs," said Bob. "I was jerking my horse trailer down the highway at 90 mph and I could not keep that ambulance in sight.

Relatives spent the next day in prayer. "She's in surgery right now and we just need her to pull through this." said Slayden's niece, Tonya Hill. Sharon did and soon made the 16 hour drive back in an ETMC ambulance.

"She's just amazing considering everything that's happened," said ambulance driver Maricela Aguilar.

Today Sharon's injuries heal from a wheelchair. A Cowboys Against Cancer T-shirt covers a punctured lung. A cast is over a leg made straight by metal rods, held together with staples.

"I know I'm going to be ok mentally and physically, God's with me," said Sharon.

For now Sharon remains in a clinic, recovering and already planning next years return to El Paso.

"No matter that what happened this year there's no reason why we shouldn't continue it," said Sharon.

Doctors have Sharon on an extensive physical therapy program to strengthen her weakened muscles. They plan to keep her in the clinic for the next month, but say she's progressing so well she may make it home sooner than that.

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