B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen's behalf, with a goal of $250,000

  • Feb. 27, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)

A Vancouver Island woman is willing to go the distance to overcome cancer, and her community is standing strong behind her.

Kara Sorensen was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2020, after discomfort in her left shoulder.

“It was shocking,” Sorensen said, explaining that at first, she thought the symptoms could have stemmed from issues with her gall bladder. “After some tests we found that it wasn’t related, and then I had a chest X-ray and that’s when they discovered the mass on my lung.”

After hearing the news, Sorensen said she and her family experienced fear and denial.

“You just can’t believe something like this happening to you. I’m a massage therapist, am health conscious, I eat a good diet, do cleanses, all of that, and I ended up with cancer,” said Sorensen.

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Sorensen has taken a holistic approach, working with naturopaths, acupuncturists, and massage therapists, along with receiving a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.

However, after four rounds of chemotherapy, Sorensen was disappointed to discover the treatments were not successful, and the cancer progressed. The mass has spread to the lining of her left lung, which has resulted in fluid building up in the pleural cavity.

“Because of the pleural involvement, it is considered advanced and inoperable,” said Sorensen.

Sorensen is now confronted with a challenging situation, forced to seek further options that are unavailable in Canada. Sorensen is hoping to go overseas to receive specialized treatment from a residential cancer treatment centre, however the costs are not covered by insurance.

A GoFundMe page has been started on Sorensen’s behalf, and has so far raised $96, 567 of its $250,000 goal.

“These centres are costly, yet have high success rates in treating cancer. I know of somebody who was diagnosed at the same time as me with the same cancer, who has been at a clinic in Germany since July, and although $150,000 in, his cancer is almost gone,” she said on the fundraiser page. “I am hoping for the same opportunity and outcome.”

Sorensen said she was touched that her colleague, Dresden Varney, started the page and has been overwhelmed by the support from friends, family and community.

“People are so generous and caring. I am inspired by the good in humanity. People do their best to support each other and I really feel that. I went from feeling weepy, to crying about the kindness shown from others when this started,” said Sorensen.

Varney knew people would want the opportunity to give back to Sorensen.

“Kara is not from this planet, she is otherworldly. I had no idea someone could radiate so much sunshine from their skin,” said Varney. “Being a massage practitioner, she has helped so many people along on their healing journeys, and seeing the success of the fundraiser is both a testament to how incredible Kara is, and to how amazing people are. There is an innate desire in people to help out.”

The cancer journey has been “an emotional roller coaster” for Sorensen, but she is feeling encouraged and excited to explore further healing opportunities, and says it’s important for people to see her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick.

To donate visit www.gofundme.com/f/help-kara-sorensen-heal.

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