Throwback Thursday: How Mamma Jamma Started

From The Under Wire. Mamma Jamma Ride News
David Smith at the Inaugural Mamma Jamma Ride

Throwback Thursday: How Mamma Jamma Started

It’s Throwback Thursday so we’ve decided to share with you how the Mamma Jamma Ride. We’ve done a lot and come a long way in 6 years and it’s worth remembering that everything great starts with an idea, with a “why can’t we?”, with a problem that needs solving.  In our case, the problem was a startling statistic, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That is a lot of people and with more people facing the disease, there is an increased need for services to help them. The Mamma Jamma Ride exists to help solve that problem and here’s how it began.

One of the Mamma Jamma founders, Jan Hill, is a cancer survivor.  She never felt the same after treatment and kept waiting for things to get back to normal, hoping that the way she was feeling wasn’t somehow the new normal. What she needed were people who understood how she felt, who knew how hard it was to learn how to trust their bodies again after cancer.  What she found was Team Survivor, an amazing volunteer organization which offers free exercise classes to cancer survivors. Jan joined the team and began training with others who had been through the same experience, people who knew what it was like to face the horrific battle that is cancer and come out on the other side. She found a wealth of new friends and an incredible network of people who understood.  What she didn’t find was a lot of money to help support Team Survivor programs.

Many of her new friends on Team Survivor were breast cancer survivors so Jan, her friend Nan, and many others began evaluating what services were available to help people with breast cancer in Central Texas. They found some incredible programs, nutrition & cooking classes to help people reduce their risk of getting cancer again, patient navigation to enable those who had been through breast cancer guide and be there for those facing it now, free treatment for those without insurance, volunteers who basically become your extended family while you’re sick to help around the house, and so much more.  They also found that each one of the organizations needed more funds to keep helping an increasing population of those being diagnosed with breast cancer. They set out to create an event that would help raise more for all so that everyone in Central Texas can get the care and support they need to face breast cancer.

Jan had been a long time rider for the successful Hill Country Ride for AIDS and realized that they had a really good model for what she wanted to do to help the breast cancer community. They approached Hill Country Ride Director, David Smith, to see if he would help develop a similar event for breast cancer. He agreed and in 2009, ten nonprofit organizations who help breast cancer patients in Central Texas came together to create what was initially called the Breast Cancer Ride. As more people were brought in to lend their creative talents, the name Texas Mamma Jamma Ride was chosen… think mammary. It was a huge success, not only for the money it raised but also for the community spirit that quickly became an integral part of the Ride.

Thanks to enthusiastic and dedicated supporters, the Ride has raised over 2 million dollars since its inception in 2009 and helped thousands of Central Texans affected by breast cancer get the care and support they need. This year we will continue the tradition of help and hope for everyone facing breast cancer by kicking off our annual ride season with a Kick-off Party.  It will be held on May 22nd at Sawyer Hall on 51st Street at 6:30 PM.  We’ll have live music from the Minor Mishap Marching Band, cocktails from Treaty Oak Distilling, beer and other beverages from Brown Distributing, epicurean delights and desserts from the Natural Epicurean, discounted rider registration, carnival games and a raffle with awesome prizes and more. Please join us and let’s celebrate everything we’ve accomplished and will accomplish for Central Texans facing breast cancer.

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