Living to tell her story
Eagle Creek's Tami Latham is a breast cancer survivor and a mom determined to be there for her son
Tami Latham is a mom, a wife, a business owner, and a soccer and baseball coach. She's an athlete who plays golf at least once a week and recently placed third in the nation in the Executive Women's Golf Association national tournament.
Five years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now she's a cancer survivor and an activist.
For the past four years she has organized and co-sponsored a Susan G. Komen Foundation fund-raising golf tournament at Stone Creek Golf Course called 'Rally for a Cure.'
One hundred forty-four players participated this year raising $10,000. The event also included an auction and raffle. 'It's a huge undertaking,' Latham said. She works with an eight-member committee that meets once a month throughout the year planning and preparing for the event. Nike Golf has helped sponsor the tournament all four years, along with Gresham Ford and Latham's company, Exercise Equipment Northwest based in Clackamas.
Latham, 47, grew up in Colton, where she graduated from high school in 1976. She went on to study physical education and health at Clackamas Community College and Western Oregon State. While in college, she competed in volleyball, basketball and track.
Fourteen years ago she and her husband, Ken, established their business, Exercise Equipment Northwest. Now they have four retail stores, in Salem, Beaverton, Delta Park and on 82nd Avenue, in addition to a corporate office in Clackamas. They employ 22 full-time workers.
'We sell retail exercise equipment and accessories for people's homes,' Latham said. 'We also have a commercial division, which is one of the things I do. I have three commercial salesmen; we sell to hotels and motels, corporate facilities, schools, and multi-family housing. I coordinate the commercial department and do the accounting.'
She and her husband also have a 10-year-old son, Tanner.
'My life is very busy with Tanner,' Latham said. 'I coach his soccer team, I was his assistant coach for his basketball team last winter, and an assistant coach for baseball two years in a row.'
Tanner has inherited his mom's love of sports. 'Instead of watching cartoons, he's watching Sports Update. He's totally into it,' she said.
When Latham was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, she chose to have a mastectomy. 'I thought, 'what are my choices? I want to be around to watch him grow up.' So I decided to have the mastectomy. They did reconstruction at the same time,' she said.
Since then, she's had regular checkups with her oncologist every four months and a mammogram once a year. This month she will finish her five-year treatment of Tamoxifen, an estrogen inhibitor. 'It's supposed to keep it from coming back,' Latham said.
Being a cancer survivor has changed her life in many ways-most of all, her appreciation of every day things. 'It's amazing how your senses become more attuned to things around you-the color of the leaves, the beauty around you,' she said. 'I certainly learned to appreciate family and friends. Don't put off seeing someone, talking to someone, going somewhere or doing something, because you might not be here tomorrow.'