It was fall of 2015 when the unthinkable happened to a normal family living in the small town of Centerville, Utah.
Breast cancer is an unsympathetic disease that doesn’t discriminate. It affects women and men around the world of all races, sizes, socioeconomic backgrounds, and, as Chrissy Turner’s family found out… age.
Chrissy was just 8 years old when she rushed into to her parents’ room, terrified to have found a painful lump under her right nipple.
Her father Troy is still broken up over the memory, “How do you tell your kid she has cancer?”
Breast cancer is a big, scary disease for such a little girl and, despite the fact that both Chrissy’s parents were cancer survivors, no one was prepared to deal with the young girl’s diagnosis of a secretory breast carcinoma. Only one in a million people must battle this extremely rare cancer and Chrissy was determined to win the fight, no matter how frightened she was that November to learn she would have to go on the operating table immediately for a full mastectomy of her right, still-undeveloped, breast.
Chrissy’s mom Annette, a survivor of cervical cancer, said her daughter’s greatest strength from early on in what would what be the fight of her life was her positivity and determination. She said Chrissy went in thinking, “You can defeat this and you can keep living.”
Sure enough, the surgery was successful and the cancer was removed in its entirety from her right breast before it could spread to other parts of her body, including her lymph nodes. There would be no need to subject young Chrissy to intense radiation therapy.
Aster DM and Annette, Chrissy’s mother, have teamed up for Breast Cancer Awareness month in hopes that this case can serve the community as not only a story of inspiration and the power of positive thinking, but also that it will encourage women of all ages to participate in early screenings. The earlier any type of cancer is detected; the more effective treatment can be and the greater the chance of survival is. For breast cancer prevention, monthly self-examinations are encouraged by Aster DM along with regular doctor visits.
Since her mastectomy two years ago, Chrissy goes to the hospital for a breast scan every three months. The family is happy to report that Chrissy and her two parents are currently cancer free.
Chrissy still has a long and difficult road ahead of her and has met with a plastic surgeon to understand that she has options available to restore a sense of normalcy when the rest of her classmates begin developing, but for now… Chrissy finally gets to be a kid again.
Chrissy has had to grow up much faster than a young girl should but has gained a sense of gratitude that extends well beyond her years.
She says, “This experience has taught me to keep moving forward and never give up. Through my cancer, I learned how important family really is and that we should enjoy every second of this life. I love spending time with my family and friends and just having fun.”
An adventurous rough and tumble child, Chrissy enjoys dragons, Legos, and riding her scooter. She will occasionally let her older sister paint her nails, but only allows the color pink because it represents the battle against breast cancer.
Chrissy, a reluctant and rather shy spokesperson, knows that the early self-discovery of the lump along with her parents’ quick actions due to their personal history with cancer may have saved her life. However, Chrissy’s parents take no credit for the optimistic outlook that saved her spirit.
“Even at first, after her initial shock, Chrissy showed an overwhelmingly positive attitude and strength to overcome her situation and return to enjoying life,” a Non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, Troy notes, “She truly has a spirit beyond her age, and her positive attitude and strength are radiated to those around her. She inspires me every day.”
Chrissy is involved in several charities, participates in community events to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research, and is even planning to speak at a fundraiser to help other children who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Two years after the scare of her young life, Chrissy Turner is alive and well, and happy to be making the world a better place.
In honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Aster DM is encouraging women to perform monthly breast self-examinations because as Chrissy has proven, the earlier that cancer can be found, the less complicated it is to fight it.