Roller skating can be so much more than just a sport for most of us. It gives us confidence and gets us through the hardest times. For Jeneva Martinez aka Drama Mama, it’s all that and more. She is a breast cancer survivor and a big advocate for cancer awareness. Jeneva fought herself back to an active life although doctors gave her a poor prognosis. Those who follow her know how committed she is in her home town Roswell (NM); whether it’s fighting for housing and against homelessness and sex trafficking or now, with her Drama Mama Pro Wheels by her sponsor Chaya, to help cancer patients directly with funding, whether it’s rent, electricity, medicine or food. A portion of the proceeds will go to Chaves County Cancer Funds. We spoke to Jeneva about her new pro wheel, why she chose this organization and the future plans of this busy woman.
Jeneva, congrats on your first Chaya pro wheel. How does it feel to finally have them in your hands?
What an amazing feeling and experience! I was so excited to do the box opening that I felt I just kept rambling on-and-on because there were so many details I wanted to include. My youngest son just returned to school and for his 1st presentation he had to bring five things “All About Me.” I was humbled that he wanted to take my wheels as one of his items. When I asked him how his presentation went, he said; “I told people you were kind of famous and the girl next to me said, no one knows your mom, so I told her you apparently don’t skate.”
I told him I really am not famous but that was a quick comeback for a 10-year-old! My 22-year son wanted a set for his board and that is the most amazing feeling to have my boys proud of their mama.
The Drama Mama Pro wheels dropped mid-July. How long did you sit on the idea for the pro wheels?
This was actually a few years in the making! It’s actually part of a bigger project that I hope to see happen. Sometimes I felt like it was never going to happen. We started working on it during the pandemic and the skate market got flooded and shops couldn’t keep skates on the shelves! But as things started to return, the market slowed down and we needed to wait for huge inventory that was made for the pandemic to move out before making new products.
You are breast cancer survivor and a big advocate for cancer awareness. You yourself had a difficult and long healing process. And you had received a poor prognosis from the doctors. They told you that you wouldn’t be able live without assistance, not be able to do physical activities like skating. But you have fought your way back. Even though disease pathways are all different, what would you tell people in the same situation?
That it’s scary and it’s ok to be scared. I was still very young when I experienced cancer and I wish I could go back and tell myself to educate, research and ask all the questions! Learning to advocate for my own health was the most challenging thing. Also, something no one ever told me was about the hormonal changes from removing breast would be. I felt like a 13 year old with new acne and mood swings! Eat well, and be nice to yourself. I had this overwhelming feeling that my body was failing me and I fell into a depression that I treated with food. I know that eating an anti-inflammatory diet would have been a game changer for recovery. Because of the gene mutation I have I recently had to have a hysterectomy to prevent ovarian cancer. My healing process was a total 180 and I feel eating non-inflammatory diet two weeks before and two weeks after did wonders for me… but I ain’t no doctor… lol
A part of the proceeds will go to Chaves County Cancer Funds. How much is the percentage donated and why did you choose this organization?
When all the math is done it will be 7.5 % of the total sales. So $3 for every 4 wheels sold. I chose Chaves County Caner Fund because this organization helps cancer patients directly with funding, need it be for rent, electricity, medicine or food! It doesn’t go into a pocket of a large nonprofit that takes a huge portion. Chaves County Cancer Funds helped me when I was out of work being a single mom battling my cancer. I feel like I’m making it full circle and now can raise money for another mama that might be entering their battle with the beast.
How do you feel today? You have a busy schedule because you have a family, do book projects and community work etc. Do you still find enough time to skate?
I feel tired but happy! My schedule looks like a tornado! So when I get those sessions in now, it’s a real joy. I used to skate daily for at least 2 hours. I am trying to find a better balance with my demanding schedule. I still feel that when I skate is when my mind is calm and I can let go of ”who do I need to email” and “what deadlines do I need to meet?” I let it all go and blast my favorite songs while I shred in my backyard! Just talking about it is putting so many memories in my head! Me at the top of my ramp, my favorite jam is on, I pull up my knee pads, lick my hands (I know, gross) and then I clap… I drop in and lean back and allow my wheels to fly over my head.
Talking specs. The wheel is a 58mm*32mm / 100A. What are the characteristics in respect of performance?
I absolutely love how Derby Wearhouse quoted me, so I sharing their description!
The Chaya Drama Mama Pro Wheels are a pro-model park wheel that also supports Breast Cancer Awareness. They are small at 58mm with a speedy hardness and threaded contact patch that helps with speed before they wear in. They have a cool design and color with great overall park features, but you don’t have to take our word for it! Here is what Drama Mama has to say about her pro-wheels:
“The 100a Drama Wheels was designed for the right speed and right amount of glide and grip. Perfect amount of surface area for transitions and bowl skating. The 58mm diameter is a great height to avoid wheel bite while stalling, grinding, and sliding on the coping. ” – Drama Mama
What’s next for you?
So, I have three initiatives that I have on my bucket list at the moment.
A UFO Skate Complex! One of a kind. Our community dream is a regional park, with a derby track/roller disco area and a pump track with some kick ass UFO features! I am in the middle of writing a grant for the planning and design which can sometimes cost up $150k once the concept and engineering plans are done.
I have met with many leaders in my community including the City Manager, chief of police, our fire chief, the hospital and many others and have found the need for Human and Sex Trafficking Training. New Mexico received an “F” in Child & Youth Sex Trafficking Report Card.
I have always believed in if you see a need and can do something, then do something, damn it.
My vision is to have as many community members receive training on how to recognize and report human trafficking and exploitation. I envision a two-day summit at our convention center that will include training by state and national organizations. My Attorney’s General Office and the National Missing and Exploded Children along other training for different sectors of our community.
And last but the very most important is the development of a new Nonprofit 501c3 that I have stepped in as president. Our state is receiving a settlement from the big pharmaceutical companies due to the pandemic of opioids and the impact it had on our communities across the state. So a group of passionate people came together to discuss how that money could impact our community. Just last week a private donor contacted the group and believed in our efforts and wants to donate a 106-bed hotel!
Wow, that is amazing!
This is HUGE! The lack of affordable housing, mental health care and rising numbers of substance abuse and homelessness has hit my hometown so hard. Sometimes we see a problem so big and you feel so small that helplessness starts to set in. But when you find like minded people you can break down walls and move mountains.
This hotel will now be our hub for The Hive Chaves County, Inc. It will be the location where multiple agencies and organizations can have space to provide direct services to vulnerable populations including the unhoused, those in a crisis, those needing substance abuse treatment support, and individuals who need coordinated access to vital services in one stop. We will be able to immediately open 30 of the units as efficiencies housing. My hope is to also create a safe haven to human and sex trafficking victims. Our state only has one safe haven in Albuquerque, NM.
Top image by Johanna Pardo
Interview by Marta Popowska