Lahaye was always interested in a career in medicine; her mother suspects that it was all those hours she spent with her dad at medical appointments. She was in college when she realized she truly wanted to become a doctor.
There were hurdles to overcome. For one, there was the question of money. Rodeo and academic scholarships had gotten Lahaye through college, but now she would have to take out student loans. Fortunately, she also received scholarship funds from the Friends of the UW School of Medicine, which eased the financial burden somewhat.
Her father was also a consideration. Despite her dad’s worsening health, Lahaye’s parents supported her decision to apply to medical school. When he was hospitalized with kidney failure, she had to leave his bedside to attend her medical-school entrance interview in Bozeman, hundreds of miles away.
“It was really hard, knowing that my dad’s health was poor and I wasn’t able to come home and help as much as I used to,” she says.
Lahaye worried about the future of the family ranch, too. It had always been assumed that she would take over from her parents one day, but medical school — and a career as a doctor — could take her far away from home. Together, the family rallied to find solutions, and Lahaye’s oldest sister and her husband agreed to move home to help their parents.
Now, their three children are growing up on the ranch, learning to ride and work the cattle, and Lahaye teaches them riding and roping skills when she visits.
“I’m trying to pass on as much knowledge as I can about ranching and rodeo, because they are the next generation, and hopefully, one day, they’ll take over the ranch,” she says.