A Tribute to Pam Shaffer, a Consummate B*d*ss Grandmother Runner

While we adore + value every #motherrunner in our tribe, the connection is always carved deeper when we get to know more details about you and/or meet you in person. Pam Solomon Shaffer checked both of those boxes: She is one of the six Role Mothers we featured throughout 2016, and we got to know—and laugh repeatedly with— her at the 2016 Another Mother Runner Retreat in Spokane.

About a year ago, she let people know she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Predictably, she fought it like the BAMR she is: With lots of forward movement, plenty of sprinkles (her Instagram account is pambikes4donuts), a sense of humor, and presence as she observed her favorite Kansas sunrises + sunsets.

Within the last week, we learned that she has been admitted to hospice. We are grateful she is resting free of pain, and that her body, which has endured Lupus and fibromyalgia in addition to cancer, won't have to fight much longer. Her spirit will live among all of us: In our happy miles, in our can-do attitudes, in our chocolate glazeds.

We wanted to honor that spirit today with various posts from her BAMR friends. Love you always, Pam. xoxo


My story: I started out as a walker shortly after I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2001. The doctor said I would probably feel better if I dropped a few pounds and was a little more active. I started walking, a lot. I lost about 20 pounds over the next four years.

In 2006, my rheumatologist told me I also had fibromyalgia. But I kept walking and logged a little over 400 miles the following year. In 2009, I logged almost 1,400 miles. And I was moving faster, with a combination of walking and running.

In January of 2013, my daughter decided that if her mother with Lupus and fibromyalgia could run that she might like to give it a try. We signed up for a Color Run in May of that year and never had so much fun. In 2015, I ran in six 5Ks, one 10K, and my first half-marathon!

When I don't get to exercise for an extended period of time: I get a little cranky. My husband, Gary, now includes hiking and biking on our vacations.

My post-race ritual usually involves: A doughnut. We have several great doughnut shops in town, and it's my husband's job to meet me at the finish line with a maple-glazed doughnut.

I usually go through ____ pairs of running shoes a year: I go through three to four pairs a year. Although my husband will tell you he thinks I get a new pair every month.


Effervescent. That is how I remember Pam. Vivacious. Proud. Supportive. I loved every second that I spent in her company at the retreat, and have been so grateful for all of her support since. I could always count on Pam to thumbs up the training posts, to “love” pictures of my children and family, and to have the perfect comment when something was hard. She gave so much to lift those around her. She is the perfect example of what AMR aspires to be. Thank you Pam for everything you have done in support and love for those of us lucky enough to know you. LAURA (Pam in lower left corner)
I met Pam at the AMR Retreat. We instantly hit it off, having a mutual love of donuts and a very sarcastic and dry sense of humor. I traveled to the retreat alone and knew nobody there, yet after meeting Pam, she seemed to stick by me, almost as if she could tell I was anxious about the whole experience and wanted to let me know I wasn't truly alone. Her Instagram brightened my days, with its scenes full of wide and stunning Kansas sunsets, as well as her post long bike ride selfies- where she was always, always smiling. I am heartbroken that this amazing spirit is leaving this Earth, but I know that from now on whenever I stop to watch a sunset—which I plan to do more often now—Pam will be watching too. MELISSA (Pam in blue hat)
One of my favorite pictures from the retreat of our awesome BAGRs (b*d*ss grandmoithers). It was a bittersweet morning; we were sad to say our goodbyes and have the retreat end. I laughed so hard at your antics after breakfast, Pam, Janet, and Debbi, though, and you three reminded me to focus not on the goodbyes, but on our new friendships we had all formed within our tribe. —SAMANTHA (Pam on left)
I had the amazing opportunity to run the Happy Girls race side by side with Pam (at heart rate 140, of course). We chatted the whole way about running, grandkids, and overcoming obstacles. Midway through she took a tumble but popped right up and kept going. Afterwards she had me take this picture of her “battle scar” from her first trail race. She was so damn proud of that blood! —HILLARY
Pam is the grandmother I aspire to be when I grow up: So much love and light, right in the center of her beautiful family. Hugs and love to you Pam. You are an inspiration in so many ways. —KELLY
Pam's message to me on 3/31, the day before her first chemo treatment: “I’m so thankful for the AMR tribe having my back.” In May, ever positive and hopeful, she told me “I just need to get rid of this SOB tumor. Then we’ll ride!” (We kept trying to “plot” a way to get together! [And ride in these donut jerseys!] ❤) One more fave: in October, there was a big group of us in the Twin Cities. She’d hoped to join us there, but couldn't make it. She messaged that she was tracking everyone IN CHURCH; she was always passionate about “checking on my BAMRS.” —DEBBI
So this showed up in my "memory" feed today. It's a little hard to tell but they are my purple shiny shoes. I posted last year, I was wearing purple for Pam's treatment starting. I actually wear a good bit of purple, and I was thinking just last week that it makes me smile and think of her a lot. Such a strong, funny, lovely lady. This world has been a brighter place because of her. KRIS


If you'd like to honor Pam—or somebody else in your life who is facing an uphill battle—wear purple this week during a workout.
Post it on social media and tag it #purpleforpam and #BAMR so her family can easily find it. Thanks.

Post-script: Our hearts are heavy:
Pam passed away this afternoon. 

8 responses to “A Tribute to Pam Shaffer, a Consummate B*d*ss Grandmother Runner

  1. Debbi told me about being with Pam at the Spokane retreat. I understand the label of BAGR was brought to life that weekend by their ‘shenanigans’! I am inspired to read these tributes to her. They remind me of the power of a positive attitude, the value of friendship, and the great responsibility and privilege we have to love on and prioritize making memories with our families, especially our children and grandchildren. I will be proud to wear purple in tribute to Pam, a fellow BAGR, and only wish I could have had the privilege to meet her.

  2. I also followed her on IG and adored her posts – what a beautiful, energetic spirit. My thoughts are with her family.

  3. I have not had the pleasure of meeting Pam but remember her well from the 2016 Role Mother series. Sending strength to her and her family during this time.

  4. I will always ALWAYS think of Pam when I eat a post race donut! And thanks to Pam, I do that a lot more than I used to! She showed us how to really enjoy life!

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