Cancer has been a part of Abra Lorensen’s life for years. She was diagnosed with bone cancer at 13 and again at 20.
About two years ago, her older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four months after that, her mother got the same diagnosis.
Earlier this year, Lorensen’s doctor tested her and the results were positive.
Lorensen and her sister were each 37 years old when their breast cancer was caught — before they were 40, when mammograms are recommended.
Lorensen said Friday the extra monitoring and awareness she has because of her earlier cancer diagnosis had already made her doctor vigilant; her mother and sister having breast cancer pointed to keeping a close eye on her.
“I was flagged already. I’m also thankful, but sorry me and my sister had to go through this, but they’re an incredible example in attitude and how well they’ve done. And my doctors were so good about doing the necessary testing and extra testing,” she said.
The three of them have supported each other through mastectomies, surgeries and chemotherapy; Lorensen took the extra precautionary step of having her second breast removed to prevent the disease’s return.
Their grandmother, in her 80s, also has breast cancer, but the cells are multiplying so slowly due to her age that she’s been doing well without a lot of treatment.
Lorensen admired the women in her family for their strength, particularly her sister.
“It’s definitely brought us closer together and being that I was the last, I feel my sister was diagnosed first and she was and continues to be a courageous person. She never complained, she just powered through it. She just did what needed to be done,” she said.
“It makes you appreciate your health and your family more. That’s the same approach we’ve all taken, but I do have to give my sister accolades for being the leader.”
She’s not a public person, but Lorensen has a friend involved with the annual CIBC Run for the Cure. So she agreed to tell her story to raise awareness about the event and about breast cancer.
With her surgery behind her, and her risk of getting breast cancer now severely reduced, Lorensen has taken charge of her health. She exercises five times a week and takes a holistic approach to her treatment.
And she feels like she has someone else on her side.
“For me personally, my faith – I believe in the power of God, that’s what I believe has helped. It’s been fundamental in my own recovery. But I just think your attitude, having a good attitude, and a good support system around you. . . . It just seems to make such a difference,” she said.
“I hope people will be more aware, get regular check ups and not be afraid of getting checked.”
The CIBC Run for the Cure takes place on Sunday, Oct. 6, at Riverside Park. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the run/walk begins at 10:30 a.m.
There’s still time to participate and get started on fundraising. To sign-up, donate or volunteer on run day, go to www.runforthecure.com.
Last year’s run in Kamloops brought out more than 1,000 participants and raised $209,745.