Kari Blythe knew what it was when she felt the lumps in her armpit: breast cancer. Blythe, 36 and from Austin, learned enough about the disease when she was a teenager watching her mother suffer through a five-year fight that ended with her death in 1995.
She had been suspicious that something was wrong with her for a while before her diagnosis. For more than a year after her son was born in 2010, she felt fatigued. Doctors told her it was a result of the childbirth and not to worry. She was too young to get breast cancer, they said.
During this time, she had started her job-recruiting business and with her company still in its startup phase, she was uninsured, with large portions of her finances committed to getting the company up and running.
It made discovering the lumps all the more terrifying.
“I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it,” Blythe said. “I didn’t have any doctors here, and I didn’t have a network.”
After several dead ends, Blythe contacted San Marcos-based Community Action Inc., a Mamma Jamma Beneficiary and local partner of Komen Austin. The organization arranged for her to get a free mammogram and put her in touch with several affiliated groups that arranged for her double mastectomy and chemotherapy.
Facing a diagnosis without any health insurance was a scary prospect but Blythe was able to secure the treatment she needed through Susan G. Komen Austin. Doctors declared her cancer-free in February, about one year after her initial diagnosis.
“We’re all coming together to celebrate life because I beat (cancer),” she said of her family. “We’re just going to look forward from here.”
Funds raised through the Mamma Jamma Ride on September 27th will help support organizations like Community Action and Komen Austin who help Central Texans get the care they need to beat breast cancer. Please help support their amazing efforts by joining the Ride as a rider, volunteer, or donor. Kari and all the other people who are diagnosed with breast cancer in our community need you.