Meet Mary Larson


Diagnosis: Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma, BRCA 1 positive on May 7, 2003

Treatment: Lumpectomy, chemo, radiation, genetic testing, ovaries removed, yearly mammogram and yearly MRI

Currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer? No

Did you have a regular exercise regimen before joining ROW? No

When did you join ROW? Almost 4 years ago, a founding member Feb. 2008

Thoughts from Mary: “I had breast cancer. That’s about all I can say about that. I had a lump, I had surgery, I got bald, had radiation and went through menopause.

I kept my psychology practice and worked when I felt up to it. The rest of the time I slept or felt nauseous. One time, I finished up with a patient just in time before throwing up in my wastepaper basket.

I had my wonderful husband and two daughters (who were tested and are thankfully not BRCA positive) and a lot of love from the rest of my family and friends so it wasn’t so bad.

I always figured I’d get breast cancer because my mother had had it many years before.

What I didn’t know about cancer was what it was going to give me. It changed my life but not in the way you might think.

Cancer gave me ROW.

A friend who just had cancer was thinking about starting up a rowing team for breast cancer survivors and would I be interested? Sure, why not. What did it matter that I had never been athletic, nor exercised, nor been a part of a group. I could learn.

And boy did I learn. And I loved it.

That was almost 4 years ago and I still love it. I am an athlete, a rower. I have pride in my physical capabilities for the first time in my life. I am a valuable member of a team of strong, courageous, beautiful women.

I row port.”