Running through town for Lori

Published 12:44 pm Friday, October 10, 2008

Want to know the definition of courage?

Look in Webster’s for Lori Johnson.

Lori’s a young mother of two boys who was diagnosed with breast cancer six months into pregnancy with her last child. On Saturday, Oct. 4, Lori was present in Mt Laurel for the first Lori Johnson Foundation 5K Run to benefit women with cancer.

Lori continues to battle metastatic cancer and her doctor confirmed Sept. 27 that she was no longer responding to chemo. Still, she gives precious time and limited energy to encourage and support others by attending the Foundation’s fundraising events.

It was a perfect fall morning for a 5K run: a slight crispness in the air, sky the color of lapis, a few sweet gum and dogwood trees beginning to hint of coming color. As the moment neared for the race to begin, a large crowd – 210 registered runners, plus onlookers – gathered on the grass.

Lori and I shared a few moments. I considered the misery of her disease, the fact that she’s traveling to Houston for treatment, and thus, having less time with her small children and husband. Many mothers – those who don’t face such challenges – take for granted their health and time with family.

“I want to encourage women to be tested,” Lori said.

Early intervention is the key to successful treatment and cure.

The Lori Johnson Foundation was formed to assist women with cancer several ways: fundraising, education, awareness and financial support with medical bills, living and travel expenses.

“We have grants available to women, and these funds are not limited to breast cancer victims; they’re for all types of cancer,” foundation board member Kimberly Crowe said.

The foundation relies on the generosity of corporate and individual donors to supply funds. One can apply for a grant, support the cause or read Lori’s journal online at

Lori wrote the following in her journal, “I pray this for my journey. It’s not what I dreamed and hoped, and definitely not what I envisioned for my life, but I pray the result will be better than I ever dreamed it could be.”

An ancient hymn comes to mind: “Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.”

Lori Johnson: portrait of courage.