Horse trots over Mississippi in coast to coast cancer quest

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By Chris Minor, WQAD 

CLINTON, Iowa (WQAD) - A woman and her horse, on a cross-country mission in memory of her mother who died of cancer, made a traffic-stopping entrance in Clinton, Iowa.

Tracy Delp and her horse Sierrra trotted over the Mark Morris Bridge from Clinton, Iowa to Fulton, Illinois in the latest leg of their 3,000-mile journey.

"It's a big milestone, It really is. It was wild, I'm like, 'Sis, we're going over the Mississippi, alright!'" Delp said.

A police escort trailed the duo, to ensure safe passage over the busy two lane bridge that connects Iowa and Illinois. Passerbys stopped, gawked and waved at the sight.

Some offered hugs, support and money.

"It brings tears to my eyes," said one woman. "I lost my husband in 1994, November 1994 to lung cancer."

Delp lost her mother to pancreatic cancer in 2008. A couple of years later, she knew what she had to do.

"A voice in my head said, 'You should ride a horse across the United States for cancer, you can call it Coast to Coast for Cancer.'"

And she did.

Starting in the state of Washington on Mothers Day, headed to Delaware, she and Sierra generally travel between 15 and 25 miles per day. The average speed is about 3 miles an hour.

"It's about the journey. You have to have a goal, but it can become overwhelming so you just take it each day, and when you break this up, 15, 20, 25 miles. You can do it," said Delp, who quit her job to hit the road.

Relying on the kindness of strangers, she crashes at random stables and barns a long the way. People have been tremendous, and Tracy says she has learned, she and her horse are not alone. Coast to coast, she has been embraced.

"I'm just the person riding the horse. It's not just about me or my mom. It's about everybody. It's their journey, too," she said. Then she got back in the saddle, and headed east.

For more on Tracy Delp's journey and mission, click here for a link to her website.