Meet Mary Ridley


Diagnosis: DCIS Stage 0-1

Treatment: Lumpectomy and Radiation

Currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer? Letrozole for 5 years

Did you have a regular exercise regimen before joining ROW? Yes: spinning, yoga, weight training

When did you join ROW? January 2015

Thoughts from Mary: “I joined ROW after my good friend (now fellow team member Robyn) suggested that I attend a ROWpen House last January. Since it was before my treatment that I actually joined, I suddenly had an entire group of women who had dealt with all my concerns plus much more, who welcomed me, advised me when I asked, and supported me in my cancer journey which kind of paralleled my rowing journey with all the new challenges I had to face.

I have a wonderful partner and he has been a rock. But I needed something else to sustain me. I didn’t know it would be ROW. I didn’t know I would have to come up with even more courage, more stamina and strength, all channeled into something positive and affirming: a team.

A team where our collective chaos, in terms of the barrage of things to learn (technical skills, practical routines, physical and psychological barriers to break through) was calmed by the order that is intrinsic to rowing: the balance of the whole group setting the boat and making it possible to row together, learning how to pick up the boat together, carry it together, put it in the water and get into it together as one team. These procedures are the rituals by which order and calm and unity are possible and even demanded by the sport of rowing. And these rituals are ones we choose, unlike the lack of choice and control we felt when diagnosed with cancer.

ROW gives us the opportunity to move forward in our lives with improved physical and psychological strength, while giving us the gift of each other in a team like no other. I am forever grateful.”