A Toronto Walker's Story
Despite difficult battles in her life, Franca Tomasino-Mok is a vibrant 47-year-old, who is gearing up to walk her first 60km in the Toronto Weekend to End Women’s Cancers.
At the age of 21, after graduating nursing school, Mok was diagnosed with several Fibroadenomas. This meant a careful watch on her health and routine mammograms; precautions she believed would keep her healthy. August 2010, Mok was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer with lymph node invasion. “I was in shock,” she says. “How could this be possible, since I had done everything I was told to do for years. I was completely devastated when I heard the news.”
Sadly, years before her own diagnosis, Mok’s husband lost his battle to pancreatic cancer at the age of 35, leaving behind his wife and two sons at the age of three and one. “I was the only parent my kids had and I needed to stay healthy,” says Mok. When she was diagnosed, her sons were 16 and 18 years old. “They did not take the news well. They often have looks of sadness on their face when I am not well, but it brings them joy when I am active and full of energy.”
Mok underwent a modified radical mastectomy with auxiliary node dissection at Princess Margaret on October 12, 2010. She completed her sixth and final round of chemotherapy on March 18th, 2011. She now awaits radiation and additional surgeries, but in the interim, Mok is taking it one day at a time by appreciating and enjoying her life. She is so thankful for the continued support she receives from her sons and her husband of 11 years, Mike.
This September, Mok will walk in the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers, as she is confident she will finally be strong enough to do so. Determined to raise significant funds for Princess Margaret, Mok is well on her way. “My goal was $8, 000 but since I have so many amazing friends, the money continues to come in and I will continue to raise my goal with every donation I receive.” To date, she has raised over $6,800.
When asking Mok why the Weekend is important to her, she says “It’s the cause. Somebody you know could get cancer. A son, a daughter, your mom, or we never know, it could be you. I’m walking because I hope one day they will develop treatment to change women’s lives and for no one to ever hear the words: you have cancer.”
As Mok pushes forward on her road to recovery, she has plans to be a volunteer at Princess Margaret. She describes the care there as, “Superbly excellent! The doctors actually listen to your questions and they truly care about you.” Mok wants to give back and help people who are battling cancer. She wants to tell patients, “It will be okay, you are in the best hands.”