Team VetMed raises more than $9,500 for student scholarships

Horse Farm 100 riders

Participants in this year’s Horse Farm 100 cycling event raised funds for student scholarships in honor of the late Dr. Michelle LeBlanc. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Chris Sanchez)

 By Jo Ann Winn

Team VetMed took on the Horse Farm 100 bicycle ride on Sunday, Oct 20.   Approximately 30 riders came together to raise money for the Michelle LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship for the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

“The team raised over $9,000 for Michelle’s scholarship,” said Dr. Chris Sanchez, the team’s faculty advisor.  “This amount pushed the scholarship fund over the endowment mark.  Vet students will benefit from this scholarship in years to come.”

Dr. Michelle LeBlanc was a UF CVM faculty member and an original Team VetMed rider. LeBlanc passed away in April 2013.  A scholarship was established in her name for students interested in equine theriogenology or stud farm medicine.

Megan Petroff, a junior veterinary student and Team VetMed president, rode her second Horse Farm 100 ride this year. This time, she had company – her father. 

“Dad was challenged to ride the Horse Farm in May, when I was awarded the Charlie and Debby Courtney Team VetMed scholarship at my coating ceremony,” Petroff said. “He started riding and training, and even raised money for the team. I’m so proud of my dad.”

Horse Farm 100 riders

 Junior veterinary students Megan Petroff, Jessica Larson and Lauren Streifel get ready for the start of their 55-mile ride. (Photo by Maureen Petroff)

Team VetMed started in 1998 as a way to raise money for D.V.M. scholarships.  Since that time, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, have ridden 1,500 miles. Over the years, three previous scholarships, named in honor of Joseph A. DiPietro, Kevin Anderson, and Charlie and Debby Courtney — have been endowed and awarded to students. DiPietro, a former college dean,  helped create the team; Anderson, a team leader who had been married to LeBlanc, died in 2010. Courtney, who retired as the college’s associate dean for research and graduate studies two years ago, led training rides for Team VetMed. 

This year, Courtney offered his assistance to coach and train first-time 100-mile riders.  

“We maintained a consistent pace of 15 mph the entire ride,” said Courtney. “There were 13 riders who finished the 100 miles in my group.” 

An additional 13 riders completed the Rush 55 miler ride.

Vet school alumni were invited to sponsor the annual team custom-designed jersey and have their business logos on the back. 

“Any day is a PURRFECT day to ride” reads The Cat Hospital of Ft. Myers’ logo. Dr. Matt Gatof, ’95, joined the team for his first 100-miler.  Dr. Terri Parrot, ’83, dedicated her logo to LeBlanc: “Ride to Remember Michelle LeBlanc, DVM” by St. Charles Veterinary Hospital.  Parrot brought her hospital team to participate in the ride.  North Florida Equine, Oaks and Northwood Veterinary Hospitals, St. Francis House Pet Care Clinic and Tampa Bay Specialists logos were also included on the jersey.

KA-ML heart

The initials of the late Drs. Kevin  Anderson and Michelle LeBlanc,adorned the sleeve of the team’s custom jerseys this year. (Photo by Jo Ann Winn)

Corporate sponsors logos covered the jersey back including UF Health, Merck Animal Health, Nestle’ Purina and Novartis and Taylor’s Pharmacy.  The top money raisers are:

  • Larry Gainsburg:$1,050
  • Matt Gatof: $500
  • Alex Gallagher:$325
  • Chris Sanchez:$325

Gainsburg, a member of the CVM Charter Class of 1980, trained in Maryland and drove down to Gainesville to participate in the ride. 

Not only did he give his time to train and travel, he also approached fellow veterinarian associates and businesses to sponsor him in the ride,” said Jo Ann Winn, the college’s alumni affairs coordinator.











The Horse Farm 100 cycling event, held Oct. 20, raised ??? to benefit UF CVM Scholarships.

This year’s ride was dedicated to Dr. Michelle LeBlanc, an original member of TeamVetMed and a longtime faculty member at the college. LeBlanc, who died in April of this year, launched the Kevin Anderson Team VetMed Scholarship Fund, which has generated more than $100,000 to date for student scholarships. Anderson had been a leader of TeamVetMed and also was a longtime faculty member at the college. He died in 2010 and LeBlanc was his widow.

Funds raised from the Horse Farm 100 this year were earmarked for the Michelle LeBlanc Scholarship Fund, which will support students interested in equine theriogenology or stud farm medicine. In fact, enough money was raised to endow the LeBlanc scholarship, said Jo Ann Winn, alumni affairs coordinator for the college.

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