At 15 years old Timeya Rice was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Treatment put her in remission, but 13 years later, at 28 years old, she was diagnosed with stage 3, HER 2 positive, estrogen positive breast cancer. Believed to be from previous radiation, Timeya was experiencing sickness and an inverted nipple before doctors confirmed her diagnosis. Given the tumor’s large size, she immediately began chemo for four months, before a double mastectomy in 2020. Since she had already received radiation for her previous cancer diagnosis, she was unable to for this round of treatment.
Since treatment and surgery, Timeya has been on hormone therapy, which she notes is arguably more brutal than the initial cancer treatments-not only because of joint pain, but because of the intense mood swings and strain on her mental health. She notes that since ending treatment, the emotional toll of the experience has begun to set in: “a lot of people say that during treatment is the worst, but I think it’s after because you aren’t actively doing something, like going to appointments. You are left to process everything you just went through.”
She is quick to note the positive side of the diagnosis and treatment in that she no longer puts up with things she doesn’t want to. For Timeya, the experience has led to a much healthier lifestyle and appreciation for what truly matters, particularly her family. She is grateful for the support of her husband during the treatments, but also her mother, who has now had to experience two cancer diagnoses with her daughter.
For Timeya, a chance to connect with other Runway models who understand the complexity of a breast cancer diagnosis so young is important: “you have different hurdles as a young cancer patient. Hormone therapy means I cannot freeze my eggs or get pregnant. I have accepted however my future goes in terms of children, but it feels more bothersome that it wasn’t my decision.”
For now, Timeya follows her grandfather’s wisdom of “once a cancer patient, always a cancer patient” and operates under the clear notion that her chances of cancer again are heightened. She is adamant about frequent check ups and monitoring her overall health. It’s why she is particularly excited to connect to breast cancer in a new way via the Runway Show this October.
We’ll be there cheering her on.