Alpa Patel


I am Alpa Patel, I turned 40 on July, 2020 and wish to live a long and fulfilling life.

I was living a normal happy life with so many dreams and goals like other people, however, on June 3, 2019 at the age of 39, my life changed. I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer with the EGFR mutation.

It took a year to determine my diagnosis, which is very late here, in a country where we have excellent medical service. It all started with a minor stomach ache since March 2018. Working in the healthcare industry I took it seriously, and went to get it checked out. I went through numerous tests over the course of one year, including multiple ultrasounds, x-rays, and blood tests. Finally in May 2019, I visited a walk-in clinic as my family physician was away, and the doctor suggested that I get an MRI of my chest and back (there was a suspicion of tuberculosis). The result came in and he suggested I go to the ER, without any explanation. I went to urgent care in Brampton where I had some blood tests done, however, the doctor said everything seemed normal. I insisted that he explain the results of my MRI and he said the report showed I had lesions in my lower spinal cord.

I was shocked, but when the blood tests came back normal I felt a bit of relief. The doctor didn't want to rush to a decision, so he sent me Etobicoke General for more tests. I had another MRI, a CT scan and also a lung biopsy, and two weeks later they found out I had stage IV Lung Cancer with bone metastasis.

It was worst day of my life. I didn't believe that it happened as I never smoked or had any unhealthy lifestyle habits. I later found out it was due to DNA mutation, and was common in women of my age.

I had two options; I could either accept my diagnosis as part of my life and carry on or give up and forget about all my goals. Of course I chose the first option. I try to live a happy life without allowing the weight of a cancer diagnosis hang over me and even asked my family to do the same. At my first appointment with my oncologist, he was surprised to see that I had no symptoms except back pain. I was afraid that I would have to go for chemotherapy and I would lose my hair, but I was relieved when my doctor said I would be taking an oral targeted treatment called Tagrisso. The price of the drug had me worried because it costs $11,000 per month, however, I was lucky at the time to have it 100% covered through my work insurance. My treatment started and I went back to work and everything seemed to work out well. In the mean time, whenever I could, I created motivational videos to help motivate other cancer warriors.

The challenging times came when COVID-19 happened. I had to take a leave of absence from work as I was considered immune-compromised which meant I could easily get infected as I worked in a pharmacy. During my stay at home, I kept busy creating videos (, I also started painting, doing crafts and DIYs. I created posts and videos to help others cope with the pandemic and shared tips on how to stay healthy and positive in such situations. I was previously a yoga trainer so I also helped people mentally, by giving online yoga tutorials. My doctor had advised me to stay home until I got a COVID vaccine (which to date is unknown).

After a year of my treatment, I started feeling better, and I thought, how lucky I was to have my treatment covered, but what about others who don't have insurance or who can not afford treatments. How do they manage the costs and how do they cope with the stress? As time went by, I kept thinking about what I could do to help. Then luckily, I saw an advertisement about a non-profit organization in India and I decided to start my own foundation. It was hard to take this big step alone, but when you care about others, I believe that God opens doors for you. My cousin and his friends decided to support me in this venture. In July 2020, on my 40th birthday we registered our non-profit organization called “A Mission Care Org” (AMCO), our only mission is to “see the world free from fear of the word cancer”. We host charity programs to help cancer patients financially and also give emotional support to patients and families,

A month after setting up my foundation, I received news that my insurance wouldn’t cover my treatment as my plan had been maxed out. At this point, I had to pay $11000 per month to continue my treatment. They say, “when it rains it pours”, that is actually what happened to me. My short-term disability benefit got rejected, my insurance maxed out and I was left without a regular source of income. However, I eventually applied for the trillium drug plan and I got approved. Though I pay a deductible, it is much less than $11,000.

I hope to support and encourage as many as cancer warriors as I can. My advice to others would be, “Stay positive and motivate others. You can win any situation if you don't lose hope”. As I always say “Together we can work to heal the world”