18_Lorna-Johnson

  • Age: 65
  • Profession: Breast Health Educator
  • Type of Breast Cancer: Carcinoma In Situ
  • Number of Years as a Survivor: 18 years
  • Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Breast Health Educator for Komen Grantee, Race for the Cure participant

My name is Lorna and I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, and a friend to many. I am also a two-time breast cancer survivor.

In July 1997, I had my annual physical and mammogram. A repeat mammogram and needle biopsy led to a diagnosis of carcinoma insitu, stage 0. I had a mastectomy of the left breast with a procedure called a TRAM flap. In July 2012, my physical and mammogram showed everything came back clean. But I felt a mass that I did not have before. After re-imaging and a biopsy, I learned the cancer had returned in the same breast and this time it was a stage 1. After surgery, five rounds of chemotherapy and 38 rounds of radiation, it is in remission.

After my first bout with cancer, I got involved with a support group called Your Bosom Buddies. Over the years, we have raised funds to help people with co-payments for treatments, prostheses, garments to assist in the healing process, payment of electric bills, mortgages and rent. We have also held the hands of patients as they reach the end of this life.

Thanks to funding from Susan G. Komen® Miami/Ft. Lauderdale we developed a “Buddy for You Program,” which taught people how to be their own healthcare advocate, and we supported them as they began their post-surgery wellness program. I participated in many fundraising events and was always involved in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® for Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Washington, DC. In my capacity as Breast Health Educator with Planned Parenthood of South Florida, I have facilitated support groups and conducted seminars on maintaining healthy breasts.

I feel that every day I am here, I am making a difference for people who are recently diagnosed, people who are on the journey with treatment, and people who have given up hope. Denial is a major part of this journey and I make a difference by giving the individual the support they need when they need it.

Prior to having breast cancer, I was a senior member of major corporations in the hospitality industry. I never knew anyone who had this disease and realized that people just did not talk about it. This caused me to step back and make some changes in my life. My relationships are much more meaningful, my faith has grown much stronger, I have met some amazing people along the way, and my life is richer for having gone through this experience. My husband, who is a prostate cancer survivor, and I spend much of our spare time involved in cancer-related activities.

I would like to see a cure found for this horrible disease in my lifetime. I hope that my granddaughter will never have to be challenged with these issues. It is my dream that women and men will be able to live a life without chemotherapy and the devastation of hair loss and sickness.

The promise to end breast cancer that was made by Susan G. Komen and her sister more than 30 years ago has made a tremendous difference in the fight against the disease. May those who volunteer and participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® bring us one step closer to finding a cure and fulfilling that promise.

Susan G. Komen® has made amazing strides and has saved thousands of lives. I am proud to be a WARRIOR.