Running the Peachtree Road Race early this morning is one of many ways Kim Martin celebrates the fact she defeated breast cancer.
Martin, 45, will be right there alongside almost 60,000 other runners at the starting line in Buckhead — rain or shine — for the fourth straight year since she was first diagnosed on August 26, 2009 after a routine mammogram.
The Cumming resident will be wearing her patriotic colors, like so many others, but look closely at her ankle and you could see a permanent reminder of her story: A pink tattoo of a ribbon with the word ‘survivor’ written underneath.
“The biggest reason I run is to try to stay fit,” said Martin, who will run this year with her friend Kiley Sargent.
Martin, who is coordinator of the Safe Kids Gainesville-Hall County at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, always knew cancer was a possibility since her mother, Joyce Sexton, was diagnosed with the same disease at 28.
However, antigen testing showed that she was negative for carrying the gene prior to her diagnosis, which made it a bit of surprise. Since her mother was adopted, they were able to determine how far back the breast cancer trait goes, said Martin, the only one of three sisters in the family to develop breast cancer.
Her training as a nurse also made it a big more unsettling, knowing from patients she’s come in contact with how difficult treatment is on the body. To confirm the diagnosis, she had additional tests and a biopsy. As terrible a diagnosis cancer is for anybody, she knew it was a good thing to catch it early.
“Since we found it early, we had more choices in treatment,” said Martin.
Since she didn’t want to risk having the cancer return, she made the decision to have a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Thankfully, she’s been cancer free since having an initial pair of surgeries over a six-month period. As part of the follow-up, she continues to have ultrasounds every six months to monitor her health.
Martin said one of the main tools she utilized during her treatment was “great physicians, specialists and co-workers” she works with at the hospital in Gainesville. Her main message is for others to remain proactive about testing for cancer in its many forms.
“I want people to be aware of their health and make sure to do regular exams,” said Martin, who has been a runner since participating in track and field in high school.
To prepare for her fourth running of the Peachtree, Martin does cardio training at least every other day, along with weightlifting.
Martin’s story is one of two cancer survivors. Her mother, Joyce, is now living healthy and just turned 68 in the spring. Kim wants to continue to stay active and promote awareness for others to stay in front of battling cancer, aiming for early detection.