This year’s Well­spring model traded her scrubs for high fash­ion.

ELLE (Canada) - - Style -

aprincess. That’s how Kathi An­dri says she felt when she ar­rived at the Royal Suite at the Four Sea­sons Toronto after spend­ing the pre­vi­ous day be­ing pam­pered at the ho­tel’s spa and then en­joy­ing a din­ner with her hus­band. Even­tu­ally he was dis­patched home to tend to their kids so An­dri could spend a rare night alone soaking in the tub and watch­ing movies. “This morn­ing, I had break­fast in bed and read a news­pa­per!” she said, laugh­ing. “I can’t re­mem­ber the last time I did that.” As a nurse and mother of three, An­dri doesn’t ex­actly have a lot of free time. In­deed, time—in the metaphor­i­cal sense—is es­pe­cially pre­cious to her.

Four years ago, at the age of 36, she was di­ag­nosed with in­va­sive car­ci­noma in her breast. From the mo­ment she found the lump, her world changed. After the di­ag­no­sis, she opted for a bi­lat­eral mas­tec­tomy and six rounds of chemo. “I never thought I’d pick my­self up from this night­mare,” she re­called. “I never thought I’d feel joy or hap­pi­ness. Then I went to Well­spring [a Cana­dian can­cer support foun­da­tion]. I re­mem­ber I was cry­ing and this vol­un­teer said to me: ‘This isn’t the end of you. Look at me; I’m a 25-year sur­vivor. You might think your life is done, but you can do it.’ Well­spring was my soft spot to land. They gave me hope. No­body gets it, but they do.”

A year after her treat­ments, An­dri had re­con­struc­tive surgery, which she says helped her re­gain her self-es­teem. But more than ac­cept­ing the changes to her body, An­dri says her big­gest hur­dle was emo­tional. “We don’t know what our fu­ture holds,” she ex­plained. “The hard­est part for me was this loss of in­no­cence. We all think, when we’re in our 30s and 40s, that we are in the prime of our lives and that we’ll have a full life and be a grand­mother. A di­ag­no­sis like this changes that. But you learn to live your life with joy. I’ve done ev­ery­thing I can to stop the can­cer from com­ing back. Now I want to show peo­ple that there is light at the end of the tun­nel.” n

Kathi An­dri will make her run­way de­but at the “Well Dressed for Spring” fundraiser for the Well­spring Can­cer Support Foun­da­tion on Fe­bru­ary 25 at the Bloor Street Holt Ren­frew in Toronto.

An­dri was shot on lo­ca­tion at the Four Sea­sons Toronto. Nor­mally a jeansand-T-shirt gal, she says that wear­ing th­ese Pink Tar­tan looks in­spired her to go shop­ping!

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