Courage is saddling up anyway

Posted 1/30/24

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”

Pazlee Sheeley, a Powell High School freshman, is following that advice while she battles a rare form of cancer that’s …

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Courage is saddling up anyway


“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”

Pazlee Sheeley, a Powell High School freshman, is following that advice while she battles a rare form of cancer that’s attacking her nerves. She’s tough — that’s why her friends chose the John Wayne quote to represent her, Sheeley’s mom Cassi Lohr said. They’ve also helped organize a fundraiser on Sheeley’s behalf.

Sheeley and her family are originally from Sheridan. They moved to Powell five years ago and in that time became involved with the rodeo community. In fact, this year Sheeley was named the Lovell Rodeo Club’s Princess. As princess, it’s her job to assist the younger riders around the barrels if they need help, carry flags, set up for the rodeos and assist with rodeo fundraisers. 

“(Rodeo’s) like a family it really is. They support everybody, the kids all grew up together, anything we need, anything they need, everybody’s got each other’s backs,” Lohr said. “That’s why we love the rodeo community.”

The rodeo community “has supported us immensely,” Lohr said.

Sheeley began experiencing pain in her shoulder in July. She visited several doctors who thought she may have a degenerative disc disease. During this time tumors were found and it was determined that Sheeley has a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor near her spine.

“She’s tough. She is very determined and she’s ready to fight this,” Lohr said. 

She attributed her daughter’s toughness to her rodeo background. 

“The game plan is actually not to cure the cancer right now, it’s to stop her from going paralyzed because it’s trying to get into her spine,” Lohr said. 

The tumor is too large to operate on in its current state but the hope is that Sheeley’s treatment will shrink the tumor — the only way to cure MPNST is to take the entire tumor out. But this form of cancer is not very responsive to chemo, “they’re kind of throwing everything at it right now,” and using an older, harsher form of chemo, Lohr said.

Sheeley received her port and first round of chemo in Denver children’s hospital. She will continue to receive chemo treatments in Billings.

The community support has been a help to Sheeley and her family. There is a GoFundMe, Meal Train, two fundraisers, and bank account set up in her name. Powell High School also held a jeans day fundraiser for its staff that raised nearly $500.

“There’s people we don’t even know that have come together and I don’t even know who they are,” Lohr said.

Now they need prayers and continued support, Lohr said; they “need kind of a miracle.”

The community has been great, Lohr said. For those who still want to help she asks for continued support and that people go to the Powell fundraiser in February, which Sheeley will try to attend to be with her friends.

Kicking Cancer for Pazlee, the Powell based fundraiser, will take place on Feb. 24 at the Park County Fairgrounds. The event will include a taco dinner, open mic night, raffles, silent and live auction and a live band and dance.

“Come and show your support for an amazing girl whose soul shines through a smile that could light the darkest of rooms,” the fundraiser’s Facebook page reads.

Those interested in helping Sheeley fight her cancer can donate to the Big Horn Federal account by making checks out to “The Benefit of Pazlee Sheeley” or visit the following links: GoFundMe:; Kicking Cancer for Pazlee:; Meal Train:

A Sheridan fundraiser is underway that can be followed on Facebook using #Pazleestrong