Jamie Whitmore was one of the best athletes the triathlon world had seen. She was a two-time Xterra world champion and 37-time Xterra winner when her entire life came crashing down with a rare cancer diagnosis.
Jamie was diagnosed spindle cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that wraps itself around the sciatic nerve. Jamie, a world-class triathlete in her mid-30s, had suddenly lost her lower hamstring and use of her lower leg. Doctors told her that she would never run again and the only cycling she would do would be on a stationary bike – and that was even “iffy.” She went through bouts of sleepless, painful nights. She had to relearn to walk again without the control of her foot. The road ahead of Jamie for a normal life was going to be rough – but she was determined to find a way to compete again.
Two months after Jamie’s first surgery to remove the tumor on her hip, another cancerous tumor appeared. She almost died after a kidney infection and continued to face more operations to remove the surgery. Jamie refused to break or bend to this horrible disease. Jamie was eventually diagnosed cancer-free but her dreams of racing again were put on hold due to the birth of her twins. After the children were born, Jamie returned her focus to competing again.
Jamie and her husband began competing together on short triathlon courses. Jamie would walk the final part of the race using a leg brace and crutches. It wasn’t ideal but it was progress and putting Jamie into a position she wanted to be in. She competed this summer to join the US Paralympic team but just barely fell short. Jamie plans to continuing competing and improving to get better on the bike and make another run at the next Paralympic Games. It’s been a tough road for the triathlete, and one she knows she wouldn’t have made it through without the help of her husband, role model, and God. Jamie is now competing to be a light for those facing a dark road with cancer – one that at times can seem like a dead end.
“I make it my mission to show people there’s life beyond cancer,” Jamie told Triathlete Magazine.
Way to go Jamie.