Save the date for Sept. 24th, 2016 and join hundreds of breast cancer survivors and fighters as they bike ride through Martindale, Tx for the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride. Marion Martin, a two-time breast cancer survivor, serves as the new Executive Director of the organization. She shared with us her own experience with breast cancer and what she loves about Mamma Jamma.
By: Marion Martin
Mamma Jamma is a bike ride held every year in the fall. Funds raised by the riders support local programs and services for breast cancer fighters and survivors. The ride creates awareness of the resources, support and help available to people in all stages of their breast cancer journey.
I never viewed breast cancer as the end of my story.
I was diagnosed for the first time in 2008 at age 51. I had a lumpectomy and radiation, followed by Tamoxifen. My second diagnosis was in 2012, and treatment involved surgery, chemo and radiation, followed Anastrozole, which I still take. I was surprised by the re-occurrence because I thought at the five year mark, which I was just shy of by a few months, I was cured.
My reality was shaken when the surgeon said I would know I was cured when I died of something else. I then realized that breast cancer would forever be in my shadow and something that I would always need to stay ahead of for the rest of my life.
I have never viewed breast cancer as the end of my story, but rather another opportunity to learn, grow and be a more grateful, in the moment person, who has a better sense of what’s really important in life.
I was terrified of riding my bike.
I heard about Mamma Jamma through Team Survivor and thought the ride would be a great goal for me to work toward as I got myself back into shape. What made the goal of doing the Mamma Jamma Ride even more challenging was that I was terrified of riding my bike. I obsessed over falling, and I was scared every second on the bike.
After going through treatment a second time, I felt empowered and invincible because I had fought off the cancer monster again and won. If I could do that, then I could conquer my fear of my bike – right? That’s why I did my first Mamma Jamma. It was another fight, another challenge and another obstacle to overcome.
I have been a Mamma Jamma rider for the past three years now. It is a big part of my identity and an important part of every year. This year is significant because it is my first as the executive director of Mamma Jamma. I feel so incredibly blessed to have the chance to blend my work and passion, and I hope I can inspire others to get involved.
If I can do it, anyone can do it.
I love it when I hear people say, “If she can do it, I can do it,” because that is 100% true. I am not especially athletic; my hair is gray, I am not as thin as I would like to be, I am not fast on the bike, I brake on the downhills. Yes! If I can do it, anyone can do it. This year I will be riding with the 15-milers and will be at the finish line until the last rider crosses.
Riding a bike is nothing compared to fighting and surviving breast cancer. Come to the training rides. Just show up. Be proud of being new. You are there for yourself and no one else. The support and encouragement is genuine and real. There is nothing better than being a bad ass Mamma Jamma. Join me!