Meet Melanie

2020 Cancer Kickin' Cowgirl

Meet Melanie

Nominated by her friend Darla

Afghanistan. Breast Cancer. Yoga. These three words are an important part of Melanie’s breast cancer story.

Melanie first began teaching yoga while living and working in Afghanistan at a military base. The fitness classes on base are taught by volunteers. She did not want to see the yoga class stop at the base where she was, so she became a volunteer yoga teacher even though she had no prior experience. She soon found herself teaching yoga to military members and civilians several times a week, and discovered that she loved it! She also found joy in seeing military members experience the benefits of yoga for themselves.

Melanie felt a lump in her right breast while showering one day, and got a biopsy while on vacation. She received the news she had breast cancer while in Afghanistan. She returned to the U.S. for treatment. Gratefully, she caught it early; it was Stage I, and she became cancer-free after her mastectomy. It took a year to get cleared to return to work, and 3 months after that she began teaching yoga again in Afghanistan. Yoga was an important part of her recovery process, and a huge motivator for her to keep doing her physical therapy and yoga so she could teach again on base when she returned to work. Melanie exemplifies “Yeehaw & Namaste” in her cancer story by showing a can-do spirit as a volunteer yoga instructor in Afghanistan, and sharing Namaste with all those she has taught.