Pamela Martin – 2017 Ambassador
City: Indianapolis, IN
Date of diagnosis: August 2015
Diagnosis: Stage 1 Ductal Carcinoma
After a routine mammogram in August 2015, Pamela was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Without this mammogram, she would not have been diagnosed until much later, giving her cancer time to progress. The tumor was located close to her chest wall and couldn’t be detected by self-exam.
She received the call while at work in her second-grade class. With so many thoughts racing through her head, Pamela said, maintaining her composure in front of her students was top of mind. Later that day, Pamela had to tell her loved ones and she remembers shedding more tears for them and their fears than she did for her own.
Pamela’s lumpectomy was on September 22, 2015, just weeks before her son’s October wedding. Three days after watching her son get married, Pamela started radiation treatments. While going through radiation, her doctor determined there was a high risk for recurrence and ordered chemotherapy. Up until this moment, Pamela said, she was okay with everything that was happening to her. The word ‘chemotherapy’ sent a wave of fears and emotions through Pamela, and she remembers tears flooding her eyes.
Pamela had a friend who was a Komen Race Ambassador in Arizona and who immediately started sending her breast cancer information, gifts and other thoughtful support items. This same friend also got Pamela connected with Komen Central Indiana. Having the opportunity to talk to other women that had gone through a similar experience helped her get through this journey. Pamela started chemotherapy in December 2015 and finished treatments in February 2016. She says her most memorable cancer moment was losing her hair on Christmas Day.
With an outpouring of love and support from her family, friends, and other breast cancer patients, Pamela persevered through her cancer journey. Two of her friends were also battling breast cancer at the same time, and were constantly lending support to one another to get through tough times.
After her diagnosis and during her treatment, Pamela would reach out to Komen to get answers if she was unsure about something. After taking some time off for treatment, Pamela returned to her beloved second grade teaching position in January 2017, around the same time she became a 2017 Race Ambassador!
Pamela serves on the Board of Directors for Paws and Think Inc, volunteers often. She visits schools, nursing homes, and other places with her certified therapy dog, Tito! She enjoys reading, music, dancing, and traveling. Spending time with family and friends is important to her as well.
Pamela says she wants to help be a voice for Komen’s mission and to educate the community on life with breast cancer. She wants to encourage women to get routine mammograms and give others the support that she received following her diagnosis. In 2016, Pamela participated in the Indianapolis Race for the Cure and attended a survivor event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Pippa Mann, hosted by Komen Central Indiana.
Pamela’s take away message for others: “To keep holding on to their faith (whatever it may be), to ask for help and to know there are other women out there who have already walked through this journey and we are there for them.”