Survivor continues cycle of support

South Surrey's Torrie Thomsen to share her story of fighting breast cancer at this weekend's Run for the Cure.

Torrie Thomsen

If there was one word Torrie Thomsen would use to describe herself, it’s lucky.

Last month marked the anniversary of the South Surrey resident’s breast-cancer diagnosis, news that shocked the then-28-year-old and her family and friends.

“It was certainly surprising, to say the least,” Thomsen, now 31, told Peace Arch News this week. “It was particularly shocking for me, just because I was young, healthy and active, and there is no family history.”

Thomsen’s cancer battle started when she noticed a lump on her breast, which she knew hadn’t been there for long. She immediately called her doctor, who set in motion a series of testing procedures.

Within a month of her discovery, Thomsen was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.

While at the time, the news came as a huge blow, looking back, Thomsen said she believes the sequence of events – and how quickly she was diagnosed – played a huge part in her success fighting the disease.

“It was due diligence on all parts – myself and the medical community,” she said. “For that, I fortunately had quite an early diagnosis.”

Thomsen’s treatment spanned the better part of a year; she first underwent a single mastectomy, followed by several months of chemotherapy and radiation.

Three years later, she is cancer free, though she is still being treated with tamoxifen – an oral medication that can reduce the risk of her cancer reoccurring.

With the unwavering support of her husband, Kellan, as well as her family and friends, Thomsen is now able to focus on the positives that have come from her experience.

This weekend, she will be the featured Survivor Speaker at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s CIBC Run for the Cure at Bear Creek Park.

The event – which includes a one- or five-kilometre walk/run – is touted as the largest single-day, volunteer-led event for raising funds for breast cancer. And Thomsen said she is honoured to be a part of it.

“The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has definitely contributed to my success, and I’m so grateful to them for that,” Thomsen said. “For me to be able to speak there on (the survivors’) behalf, it’s a huge honour. And it is really a wonderful, community-focused event.”

Registration and donations for Sunday’s run are still being accepted – more information can be found at www.cibcrunforthecure.com

The run is set to get underway at 10 a.m.

For Thomsen, having been through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment before the age of 30, raising awareness of the disease – estimated to affect 25,000 Canadian women this year – is essential.

“We tend to think that this disease only affects older women or middle-aged women,” she said.

“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard of since my diagnosis who have been in their mid to late-20s, with the same diagnosis.”

“Know that this can affect you too, and be aware of your body. And know that an early diagnosis is your best defence.”

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