Family of Airdrie woman lost to cancer holding charity scavenger hunt
Monday, Aug 11, 2014 01:08 pm
Airdronian Wendy Thomsen was 48 when she passed away from ovarian cancer on Nov. 9, 2013. The Airdrie mother fought a courageous battle with the disease since first being diagnosed in 2011. She endured three courses of chemotherapy for the cancer that was caught when it was stage four.
Now her family is holding a charity scavenger hunt in her memory. Wendy’s Hunt for the Cure takes place in Calgary on Sept. 20. The event will raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Canada.
According to her nieces, Aubrey Salloway and Ashley Clifford, Thomsen never complained throughout her cancer fight.
They remember their aunt trying to help others escape a similar fate by talking about her experience and offering her support to ovarian cancer research.
Thomsen’s daughter, Kelly, 19, was her rock during her cancer treatment, according to relatives. Kelly lives in Airdrie with an aunt and will be participating in Wendy’s Hunt for the Cure.
“When she told me (about her diagnosis), we just pushed through it,” said Kelly. “We didn’t take it as seriously as other people did, but I think if we had taken it more seriously, we never would have gotten through it.”
“It was the worst thing that could have happened to us and probably the best thing that could have happened because we laughed about it a lot,” Kelly added.
“She would always make jokes about her hair or her eyelashes, or something so ridiculous that just shined a little light on it.”
Kelly said her mom was a great advocate for genetic testing and for raising awareness about ovarian cancer.
“She was insane about getting awareness out and it was awesome,” said Kelly.
“The genetic testing is the only chance you have at testing. If your mom has the gene, you have a 50 per cent chance of having it. It’s a big deal, the genetic testing.
“But it’s not a for sure one and that’s why she was so adamant about it, because at least if you have a little bit of insight (as to whether) you could possibly have it, you could probably take the actions needed to catch it early.”
Kelly will be undergoing the genetic testing on Aug. 8.
On the Ovarian Cancer Canada website, women can find information about the disease, its diagnosis and treatment. According to the website, the only definitive way to make a diagnosis is to examine tissue that has been removed through surgery or a biopsy.
The three-hour Wendy’s Hunt for the Cure will send teams of five around Calgary as they use their best problem solving skills and call on their existing knowledge about the city to collect clues.
The clues could be items or involve tasks like pumping someone’s gas, with each one is worth a certain number of points.
Kelly said she’s hoping to win. Her family has made her stay out of the planning process as a result.
“I wish I was more involved, but I get in trouble when I am,” said Kelly. “They want (the plans) to remain a secret because I am participating in it.”
Kelly has taken a break from attending university but hopes to return in September. She dreams of being an actress but also has plans to work with kids with developmental disorders.
Thomsen was a recipient of the Airdrie Angel program in March of 2013. At that time, she was hopeful the treatment she was undergoing would be successful.