Theft Occurs During Treatment : Cancer Patient’s Truck Stolen at Border

Times Staff Writer

A terminally ill San Jose woman’s hope of completing a two-week cancer treatment program in Tijuana were dashed Saturday when her camper was stolen in San Ysidro while she was in Mexico receiving treatment.

Mary Torrance-Shaw, 44, said she parked her light blue pickup truck and camper on the Ensenada Bridge Saturday morning and walked into Tijuana to receive treatment, only to return about 1 p.m. and discover it was gone.

Torrance-Shaw suffers from bone cancer and for the past three years she has followed a strict organic diet instead of seeking conventional cancer treatment.

She arrived from San Jose on Wednesday with her son Jeremy, 9.


The theft of the camper for Torrance-Shaw represents a monumental loss to her alternative treatment, she said, because inside the camper were juicing machines, expensive vitamins, nutritional supplements, distilled water and organic fruits and vegetables, all vital to her program.

“I didn’t have enough money for the treatment and hotels, so I left my little boy with the daughter’s in-laws and I stayed in the camper,” she said from the Mira Mesa home of the in-laws of her daughter, Colleen Craven. “Now, we don’t even have a way home.”

Although her camper is covered by insurance, Torrance-Shaw says she’s not sure whether she will be reimbursed for the contents.

“I couldn’t believe it when I walked up on that bridge and the truck was gone. I was shaking like a leaf,” she said.


Because the cancer has spread to her hip area and causes her to walk with a limp, Torrance-Shaw said she decided to lock her money in the camper before she walked to her third treatment Saturday.

“I was afraid someone would just knock me down and take my bag,” she said. “Instead someone took my truck and most of my money.”

“I don’t believe that this treatment will cure me, I just want to last a little while longer . . . until my son gets older,” she said. “I was supposed to be dead last September.”

Police took a report on the theft, said Bill Robinson, a police spokesman. Police are particularly concerned about the theft because Torrance-Shaw said she had a loaded pistol in the camper.


Until a ride home can be arranged, Torrance-Shaw said she and her son will remain in Mira Mesa.

“Maybe the Salvation Army can help us,” she said. “It’s very crummy, what those people did.”