North Country model shares isolating experience of having cancer during pandemic

ABC50 NOW

CAPE VINCENT, N.Y. (WWTI) – Kristie Stumpf Rork of Cape Vincent, N.Y. is a plus-size model working for Bold Magazine. She said the magazine “strives to showcase positive role models for young men and women regardless of shape, size, [and] ethnicity.”

Stumpf Rork was raised in Northern New York. She attended modeling school and discovered that Bold Magazine was searching for brand ambassadors. She reached out to express interest in taking on the role and joined the team soon after.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2020. As a model, she expressed how her curves play a role in her career. “Losing my breasts is part of my curves,” she said. She is now using her influence as a model to share her story of having cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to restrictions on visitors in healthcare settings during the pandemic, cancer patients are experiencing an immense degree of isolation as they navigate through the experience. Stumpf Rork was sitting alone when she heard her diagnosis. She also experienced her biopsy alone, with no loved ones permitted to hold her hand and provide support.

Stumpf Rork will undergo a bilateral mastectomy surgery on February 15. She will be dropped off at the hospital where she will walk in alone, prepare for the surgery alone and enter post-surgery recovery in the hospital alone.

She said the public is hearing often about the struggles of the elderly in nursing homes and of women in labor alone in hospitals, but she feels as though the public isn’t hearing much about the struggles and loneliness of cancer patients receiving treatment alone.

On February 14, the day prior to her scheduled bilateral mastectomy surgery, she is having a “farewell” photo shoot to say goodbye to a part of her body that has played a role in her identity as a curve model. The photo shoot will take place thanks to the generosity of local volunteers. Stumpf Rork said the event is a celebration of who she is and a farewell to who she was.

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