Twin Cities woman battles rare and aggressive thyroid cancer

One Twin Cities woman is finding goodness in the kindness of others, while fighting a health battle of her own. The journey has been difficult, but she doesn't travel it alone.

"You can see that my neck is full of stuff," said Kelly Wallen from the living room of her east St. Paul home. In March, the 45-year-old was diagnosed with a rare and highly aggressive form of thyroid cancer.

"It’s called Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma and I have some in my lymph nodes and a little bit on my lungs so that’s what makes it a stage four," Wallen said,

The mom of three was told that she has just a few months to live. As a local pastor, even in her darkest days, she finds hope.

"I haven’t ever really felt hopeless about it. I haven’t even really felt like oh my gosh I’m going to die. I really have hope and that’s really carried me," said Wallen.

She's now undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. She's also turned to alternative medicine in search of a cure.

"I have good days and bad days, I would say," said Joshua Wallen.

Kelly has been married to Joshua for more than 15 years. 

"Obviously when we heard the news it was devastating," said Joshua. But family and friends have been by their side.

"When I heard about the diagnosis, I automatically knew that this was a pretty bad situation, and I also knew that this family would need help," said Aimee Wallen. Aimee is Wallen's sister-in-law. She started a fundraiser a few weeks ago, and she says that response was immediate.

"It prompts you to go do I need to get my thyroid checked and do I need to be more vigilant about my own care," said Aimee.

It's through the difficulties that Wallen says she finds strength.

"Just the kindness and goodness of God has just been so evident, and he’s just felt so near. And that has just been keeping me going," said Wallen. 

And even in her time of need, Wallen is asking those who support her, to also encourage others facing similar challenges.

"Regardless of whether or not I have a day or a week or 50 years. I hope that I can live those days well, loving people and being with people that I love. And doing what I was meant to do," said Wallen.

Wallen says that she feels it's important to share her story because she hopes for other people to have hope no matter what they're going through a GoFundMe was created for Wallen and her family.