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October is month for breast cancer awareness
Survivors inspire at hospital event
Joe Miles takes a photo of his wife Cora, as she, and other survivors were honored. - photo by Jennifer Sami
Trudy Johnson had lived a full life.

She retired after 31 years as an information technology manager, traveled the world as a photographer, taught marine biology in Nova Scotia and owned a jewelry business.

But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, she realized she wasn’t ready to stop exploring. After chemotherapy and 37 radiation treatments, Johnson is cancer free and continues to run a jewelry business, among other endeavors.

Johnson talked about her treatment at Northside Hospital-Forsyth during the its annual kickoff of national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, the event focused on breast and ovarian cancer.

“There is still a certain fear in the community about cancer,” she said Thursday. “... We have to get beyond that fear. We have to let people know that you can deal with it, and you can cure it if you catch it early.”

Johnson and Judi Haverland, who was diagnosed almost three years ago, are members of Network of Hope, which provides support for those battling cancer.

“One of the most important things to see for those who are either recently diagnosed or just had surgery, is the survivor,” she said. “... It’s the proof in the pudding.”

After getting annual breast cancer tests for nearly two decades, Haverland skipped a year.

“They found a 7-centimeter tumor from that one year,” she said. “If I’m not the poster child for ‘don’t miss your mammogram,’ there isn’t one.”

A crowd of about 50 attended the event, ranging from hospital staff and survivors to fundraiser supporters.

“It’s nice to know your hospital in your community is doing things like this and focusing on this,” Haverland said.