Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is set for this Sunday. A Plymouth woman won’t be running in that, but she will be in a competition that only a select-few qualify for.
Forty-one-year-old Cindy Blackstock qualified for the World Ironman Championship which will take place in Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 12.
But the competition is nothing compared to the personal battle Blackstock has already won.
“It was a shock. I have no family history of breast cancer, no reason to think it. I never felt anything,” Blackstock said.
And above all, Blackstock was an Iron woman. She was in the best shape of her life taking part in Ironman races in which she’d swim two-and-a-half miles, bike another 112, and then run a marathon.
“Athletes, tri-athletes we feel like nothing can happen to us so it was a shock to hear that,” Blackstock said.
The shock came on Nov. 28 of last year when a routine mammogram revealed the bad news. Blackstock had surgery in December and then began four rounds of chemotherapy in January. She had qualified for the Ironman World Championship prior to the diagnosis, but feared she’d never be able to compete.
“I felt really down and exhausted. But being in the shape I was in made me rebound faster from the surgery and the chemo,” Blackstock said.
Chemo took Blackstock off course, but she never took her eye off the finish line. In May, the doctors said she had recovered enough to start training again. Now, she’s ready to fulfill a dream and compete with the best in the world — all while spreading a message to other busy moms.
“We are all busy moms. We are working, taking care of our kids, taking care of our families. We tend to put ourselves last — especially as athletes as well. None of us are invincible. If it can happen to me it can really happen to anybody. So my message to everybody is get your mammograms, get them every year. It’s really important,” Blackstock said.
And the other half of that message according to Blackstock is — you can overcome.
She was diagnosed less than a year ago and now she’s getting ready to compete in one of the most grueling competitions in the world.
She and her business partner run Sivo Insights, a market research company.
They are now donating 3 percent of their profits to breast cancer research and screening.