PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In the spotlight every year — the survivors — the warriors who have beaten breast cancer. This year, sharing the spotlight, the forever fighters.
Meet Felicia Johnson, who is inspired to fight for herself — and others.
Johnson knows how lucky she is to be enjoying a spring evening.
“I like to say I’m a miracle,” says Johnson.
In 2003, doctors diagnosed Johnson with stage four metastatic breast cancer. That meant her breast cancer had spread to other parts of her body.
“You’re considered, I don’t like the word, terminal, but your prognosis is not as good as if I was diagnosed at stage zero to stage three. Metastatic also means there is no cure for the disease.”
She had monitored her breast health since age 22, trying to beat her family’s history of cancer.
“It’s pretty intense, high-risk. Three generations of breast cancer, unfortunately, and 11 women,” said Johnson.
She leaned on her family, especially her son Brandyn, her friends, and church community through the grueling treatment. Fourteen years after her original diagnosis she is not cured, but there is no evidence of disease in her body.
“My experience with cancer was actually a humbling experience. Sometimes we can be so prideful and high up and then we have a major event that happens to us directly as opposed to watching a family member go through so it humbled me a lot and it let me know that you need to help others,” she said.
Now, still living with metastatic breast cancer, she’s found a way to help others like herself.
Among the sea of people at Sunday’s Race For The Cure, Johnson will help host the first ever Susan G. Komen Philadelphia tent for metastatic breast cancer patients.
And she’ll help lead the first-ever Salute to Forever Fighters parade down the Art Museum steps.
“That’s the important issue is to bring us out of hiding from the dark and say, ‘Yes, we’re alive. Yes, we need research dollars. Yes, we need your support because we want to live life to the fullest in spite of the disease,'” says Johnson.
That could be Johnson’s own mantra, living her life to the fullest and giving back in the way so many gave to her during her most difficult moments in the battle against breast cancer.
“I think it’s a choice you make in any difficult situation,” said Johnson. “You have to reach out after somebody has reached in.”
The annual Susan G. Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure is this Sunday, May 14.
There’s still time to register and donate: https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Philadelphia/Komen5K