Maureen Hicks: Rider Profile
Memories are what make the human experience both unique and universal. When those we love are lost in life, they are never truly lost in our hearts, our spirits, or our memories. For Maureen Hicks Damm, the Mamma Jamma Ride is a way for her to remember her mother, whom she lost to breast cancer in 2016. When she rides, her memories are as vibrant as the colors she wears to support her mother’s journey.
What drives your ride?
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2014 in New Orleans. I began participating in the Mamma Jamma Ride the year she was diagnosed as a way to feel like I was doing something to help others going through similar situations as my mom, even if the ride was 500 miles away from her. Sadly, my beautiful mother died two years after her diagnosis, and while I did not ride the year she died, I have ridden for her, as well as for the countless others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, every year since then.
Do you have any advice on fundraising or participating in the ride for those who are first time riders?
For first time riders, just remember to have fun, talk to strangers, and don't forget why you're doing the ride. I've done the 40+ mile ride twice, and when it got hard, I reminded myself that if my mom could go through chemo, radiation, and multiple surgeries and scans, all with a positive attitude, I could certainly ride my bike for a few hours.
Thanks to my incredibly supportive friends and family, I have been a top fundraiser every year I’ve participated (this is my 6th year). I would say don’t be afraid to ask everyone you know to donate, and remind them that the money they help to raise directly benefits local women with breast cancer and their families. How many fundraisers can say that? Social media has been extremely helpful. I've gotten several "anonymous" donations as well as donations from people I don't know.
How has Mamma Jamma helped you or someone you care about personally?
I work in a middle school and personally know children who have received services from Wonders and Worries, a Mamma Jamma beneficiary. Wonders and Worries is a wonderful way for children who have parents with a serious illness to receive professional support they may otherwise not have access to.
Tell us a little bit about who you are.
I'm originally from New Orleans but moved to Austin to attend graduate school. I live in north Austin and work in Pflugerville ISD. For fun, I like to travel, sew, crochet, and get together with friends and family. My husband, Jim, and I do not have any children. We ride our bikes, and Jim has participated in several Mamma Jamma rides as well. I have done other rides, but the Mamma Jamma Ride is so inclusive to those of all skill levels, and it builds a sense of community like no other ride I've experienced, and that’s what sets it apart from other charity bike rides for us.
Are you on a team? If so, tell me a little bit about your experiences riding and fundraising as a team member.
When I first started doing training rides for the Mamma Jamma ride, I was one of those riders that was never left behind. As a result, I got to know three other riders really well: Janis Connell, Sherri Powell, and Carol Gibson. They were so incredibly supportive and have truly never left me behind. I enjoyed my experience riding alongside them so much that I joined their team, Team Beer & Boobs.
By Alex Keefe, Communication Intern