Tag Archives: Breast Cancer

A Shout Out to Lisa Marie Johnson on her 42nd Birthday

By Chris Henry
In February, 2007, Lisa Johnson of Manchester was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, an invasive form of the disease in which malignant cells had spread to other organs in her body. Despite aggressive treatment over the past two years, the cancer has progressed. Lisa is now receiving Hospice care for comfort and pursuing quality of life, to the best of her ability, in each day, according to her mother Sharon Ewing of Bremerton.
Lisa and Steve Johnson
When Lisa and her husband Steve were first married, they had a low-key, low-budget ceremony. On Valentine’s Day, 2009, family, friends and coworkers helped Lisa and Steve celebrate 20 years of marriage with the “dream” wedding they’d always wanted. Daughters Amanda, 20, Kayla, 19, and Judy, 16 were bridesmaids.
Now those same folks are pulling together to help raise funds for funeral arrangements Lisa has requested.
A spaghetti dinner and auction to benefit the Lisa Marie Johnson Funeral Fund is planned for 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 11 at Seabeck Conference Center, 15395 NW Seabeck Highway. This family-style, sit-down dinner features music by Swing Fever and pictures with Santa.
Many local businesses have pitched in to help with supplies and auction items, such as wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres for 10 from Hoodsport Winery and a necklace from Chrey’s Jewelers of Bremerton.
When I wrote about Lisa and Steve in February, I was struck by their love for each other, which I described as a palpable presence. The other remarkable layers of the story were their girls, who have risen to the family’s challenge with grace and maturity, and the community response, a group effort that went and continues to go above and beyond.
On a recent night, I was driving back from Oregon after dropping my daughter at college. Scanning the radio dial for some diversion, I heard an Oregon Public Radio Broadcast about a woman who is a chaplain to the Maine Game Warden Service. Kate Braestrup, who lost her own husband in a tragic accident, “is called in when children disappear in the woods or when snowmobilers disappear under the ice.”
Braestrup talked about our inclination to try and reconcile the most excruciating experiences life dishes out with the exquisite beauty of human interaction in times of crisis. Through her experiences with tragedy, she has learned to let them coexist, side by side, without explanation or moral. As host Krista Tippett said, Braestrup is, “a doer whose sense of God emerges from what happens between and among people.”
Our thoughts are with the Johnson family, with a special shout out to Lisa whose 42nd birthday is Friday (Dec. 4).
Tickets to the dinner-auction are $10 per person, $5 for children under 12, $25 per family of four and $5 for each additional family member.
A benevolent fund has been established at Kitsap Bank; designate donations to the Lisa M. Johnson Fund.

Cheap Thrills: Free Women’s Health Care Screening

Not to be flippant about anything as serious as breast or cervical cancer, but I wanted to call attention to this item from our calendar of events (The Rail). Having recently written about Lisa Johnson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39, I was excited to see this opportunity for women with no insurance or who are under-insured to get free mammograms and pap tests. Space is limited and appointments are required (see below).

Addendum: I just spoke to Lisa today. She is continuing to receive treatment and is in good spirits. She had a “wonderful” Valentine’s Day wedding/renewal of vows with her sweetie Steve, and she thanks all in the community for their support.
The family is experiencing serious financial hardship as a result of Lisa’s illness. Friends have established a benevolent account for Lisa and her family. Donations may be made at any branch of Washington Mutual.

Free Women’s Health Screening Planned
Peninsula Community Health Services and the Kitsap County Health District will collaborate to bring a free one-day women’s health screening event to Kitsap County on March 28 as part of the 2009 West Sound Women’s Show sponsored by Soroptimist International of Greater Bremerton.
Screenings will be from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the President’s Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, 1200 NW Fairgrounds Road in Bremerton.
There will be breast and cervical health screening, including a mammogram and Pap test free to women between 40 and 64 who are uninsured, have limited insurance or who have limited income. Exams will be conducted in the Swedish Hospital Breast Care Express, a full-service, self-contained, 64-foot mammography unit and women’s preventive exam clinic on wheels. A variety of health resources also will be available.
Child care will be provided during the exam, interested women should make an appointment by calling patient resources at Peninsula Community Health Services at (360) 377-3776. Space is limited, so appointments should be made as soon as possible.

A “Real” Bride at Last

Imagine having only two weeks to plan and carry off a dream wedding.

Time is of the essence for Lisa Johnson, a Manchester mother of three teenage girls, who has cancer that has spread from her breast to other parts of her body. Lisa and Steve Johnson will be married 20 years March 18. They had hoped to renew their vows on their anniversary. The first time, they stood before a justice of the peace in a local living room, but Lisa has always wanted a “real” wedding. So when her co-workers at Fred Meyer in Port Orchard learned that her condition had deteriorated and is now life-threatening, they shifted into high gear to give her the wedding of her dreams, set for Valentine’s Day. I’ll be writing about what it took to pull it off for a story set to run that day.

Working through the nonprofit Making Memories, Lisa’s friends are arranging for everything: the service at First Christian Church, flowers, cake … even a designer gown. The organization helps women with metastatic breast cancer realize life-long dreams, but their generosity doesn’t cover everything. The folks at Fred Meyer have done most of the legwork on preparing for the event, and there will likely be costs not covered by Making Memories. So Lisa’s friends have set up an account for her at Washington Mutual. Stop by any branch to make a donation. Mention the Lisa Johnson account.

On a related note, there will be an organizational meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. next Thursday (Feb. 12) at MoonDogs Too, 714 Bay St. in Port Orchard, for anyone interested in taking part in the inaugural Seattle Rock n Roll marathon, a fund-raising event to combat cancer hosted by the Lazarex Cancer Foundation.

For more information on Lazarex:

Susan Sappington
Director of Development
Lazarex Cancer Foundation
www.lazarexfoundation.org <http://www.lazarexfoundation.org>