British Columbia cancer patient Leigh Maureen Thornton credits Vancouver Canucks star Roberto Luongo with helping her fight through the disease, calling him an inspiration.

Luongo says Thornton is, in fact, his inspiration.

The Victoria woman wrote to Luongo while she was recovering from surgery to treat thyroid cancer.

Thornton told CTV British Columbia that during her year-long recovery period, she spent a lot of time watching hockey, in particular, watching Luongo.

In the fall of 2011, Thornton said she observed Luongo continue to endure the backlash from that summer’s Stanley Cup loss.

“It just happened to be at a time when I was looking for inspiration and a positive outlook, and he was it,” she said.

The 38-year-old wrote Luongo a letter, crediting the Canuck’s goaltender with saving her life.

On Monday, the Victoria nurse was delivered Luongo’s response.

“Even though she says I was an inspiration for her, I think after reading something like that I think she’s more of an inspiration for me,” Luongo told reporters when asked about the letter. “Those are serious matters that you go through in life and to fight like that and to conquer, it’s something that makes the stuff that goes on around here look silly.”

Thornton says her treatment has gone well and she will find out next month if she’s cancer free.

Fighting back tears upon hearing Luongo’s kind words, Thornton said she doesn’t feel like an inspiration, “but that’s nice.”

With a report from CTV British Columbia