Valencia Isles women walk to raise money for Komen

October 9, 2013

It was 1992 and Rita Johnson, now 77, found the lump while on vacation on Sanibel Island.

A former geriatric and psych nurse, Johnson knew she needed immediate attention, but didn’t want to ruin her long-anticipated vacation.

“I was taking a shower when I discovered the lump,” she said. “I waited two weeks and then within three days was at the surgeon. I have a good friend who took me every day for six to eight weeks for the radiation treatments in Connecticut.”

Johnson had a partial mastectomy performed at the Yale New Haven Medical Center and took Tamoxifen, a drug used to block the female hormone estrogen, for five years.

She has been involved with the Susan G. Komen South Florida affiliate ever since.

A leader for the Valencia Isles team, Johnson takes the initiative every year and organizes a bus to take more than 60 fellow residents, many of them survivors, to the Susan G. Komen South Florida Race for the Cure in West Palm Beach every January.

“I found my tumor myself, but if it wasn’t for the research Komen sponsors, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Johnson said.

Funds raised by Komen’s South Florida affiliate provide grants for diagnostic tests beyond mammograms and treatment and monies are disseminated to local hospitals.

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