by Moe Slaughter
My name is Moe Slaughter and I am an easy going, light hearted, woman who does not take life too seriously. I love being outside in nature and up until March 2016, I was an avid hiker. There is something magical about being out, away from civilization. On March 25, 2016, my world was turned inside out with a breast cancer diagnosis. I had surgery and underwent treatment that left me exhausted, all of the time. I was unable to hike more than one or two miles, at a time. Somehow, I had to find a way to get back outside in nature. My remedy resulted in trading in hiking trails for off road trails.
My wife, Rena, and I had one Jeep Wrangler but it was not built for anything more than a dirt road. I was treatment poor, at the time, so there was no money to build it. On one of my many sleepless nights, due to treatment, I found myself on a TJ Wrangler hunt. I like the 4.0 motors and I found one jumping off the computer screen, screaming pick me, pick me. The next day, Rena and I went to look at it. We took the car in case we decided to buy it. Ultimately, we came home with the Jeep.
It was less than three weeks after my last treatment that Rena and I went on a Jeep Girl’s trail run. This was my first trail as part of a group. It was an amazing day. I met some wonderful women and made some unforgettable memories. One of the ladies on the Jeep Girl run setup a beginner rock crawling trail run. The president of the Jeep Club I am now a member of, tagged along to spot us through the obstacles. I remember being so nervous that day, but I soon learned he was patient and knowledgeable. After I went up and over my first obstacle, I was hooked. I could feel the excitement piercing through my veins.
My wife and I went to a Copperstate 4 Wheelers (CS4W) meeting and it was not long before we fulfilled the requirements and petitioned to be a member. CS4W has become our family. We are a small club with gigantic hearts. We spend time together on the trail and off the trail. My club is big on giving back to the desert that allows us to enjoy her beauty. Annually, we host the Four Peaks cleanup, on the first Saturday of every November. To be a part of this huge cleanup fills my heart. CS4W has also adopted the Bulldog Canyon trail in the Tonto National Forest. Our job is to make trail repairs and keep it clean. Another fun event my club takes part in each year is the Tumbleweed Chandler Christmas Light Parade. To see the children’s faces light up is magical. I get as excited as the kids while decorating the Jeep. It is a big reminder of what is so special about the Christmas season.
Over the past two years I have spent a lot of time on the trails. I enjoy the adrenaline rush I get when on the rocks and the beauty I get to be a part of when overlanding. I love to learn and push myself to new levels. I take every opportunity I can to learn new things and try new things. I love the practicum of putting what I learn to use on the trail. However, I hope I never have to use the Pull Pal on the trail. Though, in case I need it, I do know how to use it.
I enjoy spending time on the trails with Jeep girls too. It is through them, I get to see what I cannot see in myself. I know I have grown, but it is harder to see in myself. I have made it a priority to start tracking my accomplishments. One recent accomplishment was stepping up to lead our club on a trail run through Mingus mountain to Smiley Rock and then into the small mining town of Jerome. It was a great success and I look forward to doing it more often.
Yes, I am a breast cancer survivor, Breast cancer has been a part of my journey. However, breast cancer does not define me. What breast cancer has shown me is how to live in the moment. It has taught me not to take anything for granted. One of the most important things it has taught me is take risks and not allow fear to win. I have learned new and sometimes inventive ways to conquer my goals. I have learned so much and have so much more learning to do. Although, this journey of my Jeep and I is relatively young, my Jeep has become a huge part of me. It is my new way of conquering the miles, I used to cover on foot, hiking. The day I bought, the new to me Jeep, is the day I told cancer it would not win. It is the day I started living in the moment. It is the day I found my way back into nature.
Posted by: Dulcy Rojas