Breast cancer survivor is a Portrait of Hope
American Cancer Society will honor Denise Johnson at its Tulsa Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 13. 2018.
Simon Hurst Photography
In 2015, 10 months after a clear mammogram, Denise Johnson noticed her right nipple inverting. “There was no pain, nothing,” she says, but the visual change convinced her to see her doctor.
During an ultrasound, Johnson learned she had tumors below her nipple and under her arm. “The doctor kept saying, ‘Not good, not good,’” Johnson recalls. “Tears were streaming down my face, and I said, ‘Lord, you have to take over my emotions right now.’”
Next, Johnson says she went into “warrior mode.” She had a bilateral mastectomy and lumpectomy to remove the Stage 3 cancer, followed by four months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.
Today Johnson is cancer free and volunteers her time helping others going through cancer treatment. She regularly hands out goody bags and blankets to patients at Oklahoma Cancer Institute. “I tell them, ‘I’ve been in your chair,’” Johnson says.
This month, the American Cancer Society will honor Johnson as a “Portrait of Hope” ambassador at its Tulsa Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. She credits the ACS for its programs and resources that help cancer patients like her. And Johnson is happy to pay it forward.
She says, “Those of us who have been through cancer — our job is to let those going through it now know about the resources and the help they can get.”
Oct. 13 — Tulsa Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk
7 a.m., registration; 8 a.m., walk. Mohawk Park, 6421 E. 36th St. N. Benefits American Cancer Society. cancer.org