By Alan Gionet
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– As Colorado wakes up groggy on a Monday morning, you think about finding your shoes, picking out your clothes. Torin Perret wakes up on another day with a cancer diagnosis hanging over him. It’s inoperable brain cancer. Torin plans to go to work in Fort Collins, then class at CSU. He doesn’t want it to stop him. It won’t. Cancer may have attached itself to him, but he is not attached to it. At 22 years old, he wants to do a lot more.
This morning we gave a few words of support to Torin, to let him know Colorado is with him in his fight. This month ahead, I’m taking part in No Shave November to raise money and awareness about cancer. So at CBS4 we tried to find a way to talk about cancer in a way that shares the stories of people fighting it. We are letting people know they’re not alone.
Torin got his diagnosis nearly two years ago. He is an athlete who loves climbing and hockey. He got a concussion while playing hockey, but three months later, he was still having symptoms like headaches. He insisted on an MRI. Doctors found a tumor attached to his brain stem. It was a rare form of brain cancer known as anaplastic astrocytoma. They were able to biopsy it, but due to its location, they could not remove it. Torin started chemotherapy and radiation in February on 2016. The chemo lasted all the way into early this year.
For the most part the radiation was worse than the chemo. There were times when he was throwing up and exhausted from the treatments, but he kept going with everything he could, even school. He took a semester off at CSU, where he’s nearing a degree in Parks and Protected Area Management. But then went back as soon as he could.
“My teachers were pretty cool about it, but definitely not the easiest thing,” said Torin.
He is so close to a degree, he will have only one class next semester. He hopes to do something with outdoor education.
He started called his tumor “Chad.” It would be best if Chad just went away. The cancer has been stable, but brain cancer is not one to just go away. He has an MRI every three months as doctors watch what’s going on.
Torin hasn’t been one to travel, but has found he wants to spend time with friends.
“I think I value hanging out with people I care about and care about me so I can make the most of any situation.”
That involves still playing hockey and climbing. He’s taken part in games with the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation, which helps sick and injured hockey players. Torin quietly has found a way to help young people going through their own challenges. He worked at Camp Wypiyapi with kids facing their own diagnosis. When a child facing cancer can turn to a 22-year-old facing his own struggle, there’s a connection they don’t find anywhere else.
“It’s a cool camp though,” he said. “You don’t really talk about it all that much you just kind of hang out with the kids and have good week.” One week at a time. Torin has also worked with teenagers in a program called “Team Works.” He’s a team player, the kind of guy you’d want on your team. We want him to know, we’re on his side when he faces his next MRI just before Thanksgiving. All of Colorado is on that team.