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LIFE WITH CANCER: From grim diagnosis to enjoying a shortened life and helping others

February 22, 2015 - 2:28 PM

KAMLOOPS - She found out she had rare form of cancer and was told she likely had only weeks to live more than a year ago. Now the mother of two is trying to help others get personalized cancer care.

Kendra Brown, 37, has terminal appendiceal cancer. It's not her first go round with the disease. She was diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer when she was 23-years-old.

Being told you’d be lucky to live a year when you have two young children is hard. To help cope, Brown began putting together legacy boxes for her daughters — 5 and 3 at the time — to help them remember her when she is gone. A fundraiser was also held to help send the family to Disneyland.

“I've written letter to the girls going back to my childhood and about who I am... I invited friends to write letters about me so the girls can read about me through the eyes of my friends,” she said last year of her legacy boxes. “I've also thought of hand prints in shadow boxes, little necklaces (thumbprint in heart), photography and videography... and I bought a bunch of stuff to make birthday cards for every year. She says starting when her kids are ten, their dad will give them a Pandoras bracelet from her, and will follow up with a charm every year.

Brown underwent seven months of chemotherapy in her latest battle with cancer and her entire large colon and portions of her small intestine were removed. She travelled to Mexico for alternative treatments last summer, and just last month, she resumed chemotherapy.

While she has accepted the inevitable truth her cancer cannot be cured, she has since moved to embracing what life she has left instead of preparing to die.

“Just a day. A gift. A life. Oh, so worth the ongoing fight,” she posted to Facebook the day before chemotherapy resumed.

Based on her experience with cancer, she wants to help other people get the treatment they need by raising funds for research on personalized onco-genomics. This type of treatment is based on the idea every cancer is unique and hard to treat. It's aimed at providing clues about treatment so it can be more effective and less toxic.

Brown is also working with Vancouver photographer Cynthia Haynes to raise awareness about living as an ostomate. Ostomates have had a surgical operation to create an opening for the discharge of body wastes. She recently had a photo shoot with Haynes and is hoping to recruit more ostomates to bring awareness to living with the scars cancer leaves behind.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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