As I alluded to Monday, I have the opportunity to participate in my third Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer this Saturday, September 22. Previously I have ridden 57 miles in 2015 and 65 miles in 2017, raising over $2,500. But this time I have waited to the last minute to decide, so I need your help. What do you think? The important thing is that if you are interested in pledging your support to let me know that, and how much, ASAP, today, because I can’t do the ride without raising a minimum of $300 by Friday. Leave a comment [which provides your email], or send me an email, which is on the About page. Thanks for your interest. More information is included below, so I hope you’ll read on.
Breast Cancer Affects 1 in 8 Women
This statistic is pretty scary if you think about it. I’ve known a number of women to get it. (Men do too, in much smaller numbers. I myself am at risk for it, actually.) The great thing about this ride is that it’s not just for research. It’s actually about funding services by Central Texas nonprofits. Here is a graphic with the beneficiaries:
The community of riders, volunteers, staff and supporters that comes together to put this event together is pretty incredible. There are police, EMS, mechanics, volunteers driving the course to provide assistance, volunteers staffing food tents, and more at the end of the ride. And a majority of the funds raised go right back to these groups providing services to women undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. The good news is that breast cancer is treatable and survivable if caught early enough.
The Ride Itself
The town of Martindale, Texas is the host to the ride. A small town southeast of Austin, basically rents out the town square. Every year, hundreds of riders show up very early in the morning. There’s an announcer and music, hustle and bustel, but amongst the riders parking their cars, getting geared up. In the corral lining up, it’s quiet, with an air of excitement. In a way, a solemn event, but also a rolling party.
I had dropped my back-up battery and keys in the porta-potty and forgot my water bottles. A kind woman with Cadence Sports who put on the ride found me one from Team Survivor. Women I’d seen on training rides were there; and some were recovering from their treatment. That’s pretty brave. For them, they were literally riding for their lives. Finally we started, and were off into the rolling hills of south Central Texas.
Last year there was a pretty dense fog at the start. I wrote about training for that ride in this post. I was with a rider whose wife was one of those survivors, and who is now No Evidence of Disease (NED). But it was a long and painful road, and she has to still recover and wait for a year, then two, then five years, to hopefully be “out of the woods.” Breast cancer can always recur, but we hope it doesn’t for her or for anyone. The rider wanted to go slowly; 65 miles is no joke. We stopped at the rest stops for food and water. Chatted along the way. Tried to enjoy ourselves as the effort required increased. People along the way cheered us on.
The Finish Line of the Ride, but Not For Breast Cancer
Finally, we were done. We crossed the finish line to applause and cheers. We were handed a cold towel dipped in aromatic lavender ice water to wipe the sweat and grime, and maybe a few tears, from our faces. Our bikes were taken to the bike corral. We found seats, our bar-b-que lunches, and began the process of recovery. At some point, I made my way down to the spring-fed cool river, and laid down. It was heaven. I would be sore the next few days, but I felt like I was making all the miles I had trained mean something. Knowing that people were donating made the suffering worthwhile.
This year has been a difficult one for me, with no job or health insurance. I’ve had some health setbacks that make things harder than they used to be. Today someone asked me if I would do the ride, and if I did, how much could I raise? Because there was someone who might match any donations made. So I said maybe, and let me ask to see if anyone wants me to do it. It only works if people will actually donate money, because they won’t let you start without $300. If you’re a person who has been directly or indirectly affected by breast cancer, and support my riding, I’d love to hear from you right away.
There are logistics to be worked out and lots of other costs too: bike repair ($), registration ($), new gloves ($), ride to the ride and back (gas $), etc. Ideally people would donate directly for those. I have a Pay Pal if that interests you, send me a note. Thanks for reading and supporting if you can! But if there isn’t enough support and I can’t do this ride, it’s not the end of the world, there are always others. But charity starts at home, so we’ll see if this is meant to be. It’s kind of up to you!
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