Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

“There is no instant cure” – One Local Mum’s Breast Cancer Battle

One day in November, Proserpine resident Jenn Johnson noticed a lump in her breast.

She thought nothing of it, and only noticed the lump whenever she was in the shower, finally making a doctor’s appointment later that month.

“I thought it was a swollen milk duct, or something, you can get those years after you’ve stopped breast feeding,” she said.

“I thought it was going to be nothing, and all of a sudden, it was something.”

From the date of the initial doctor’s appointment and ultrasound, it took Jenn two months of testing and scans to receive her diagnoses. Grade three breast cancer, in her breast and lymph nodes.

Since the very beginning, Jenn has kept her almost-four-year-old, Wyatt, informed.

“I told the little one that mummy’s gotta get a needle, to find out if it’s a good bump or a bad bump. Eventually, he asked ‘mummy, is it a good bump or a bad one?’ and I said, ‘it’s a bad one’, and he said, ‘but I want it to be a good one’.”

Jenn is about to finish up the first part of her treatment of four fortnightly rounds of chemo in Mackay, however, she had an extreme reaction to her most recent round, caused by an infection in her port.

After a stay in both Mackay and Proserpine Hospital and the removal of her port, Jenn is now back at home in Proserpine.

She will finish her final fortnightly chemo treatment, before going into 12 weeks of weekly chemo treatments, each one requiring her to be in Mackay for a day each week.

This is where Tarnia Patton, coordinator of Proserpine Community Markets, steps in.

She knew of Jenn in town, and her “bright and friendly character that makes her extremely hard to forget”.

“After finding out about Jenn’s diagnoses, I really was at a loss as to what I could do to help,” said Tarnia.

“Then I noticed a friend of hers started a GoFundMe campaign which I immediately contributed to and shared around my networks.”

Tarnia is founder and coordinator of the Proserpine Community Markets which have been operating since late 2020.

For each market, the team select a charity to support, and on this occasion they decided to put the money raised into supporting Jenn’s battle.  

The market also had a pink theme, to spread awareness about breast cancer, and start the conversation.

“We raised a total of $1,310 through the raffle and donations,” said Tarnia.

Many of the raffle prizes were donations from the staff holders.

“This way, 100 per cent of the funds went directly to Jenn.”

This massive donation has been combined with Jenn’s GoFundMe campaign, bringing the total to $5,225.

Jenn is extremely grateful for the donation and decided to share to raise awareness for breast cancer.

“It can happen to anyone, young and old; it can happen to men. And you don’t realise that until you’re in it,” she explained

“I figured, if this will get my story out there, and if another young woman hears, then it could help her too.”

Once Jenn has completed the 12 weeks weekly treatments, she will next undergo surgery to remove her breast, in order to drastically reduce the likelihood of the cancer returning.

Proserpine mum, Jenn Johnson, battles breast cancer at 30-years-old

The Proserpine Community Markets supporting Jenn Johnson’s breast cancer journey

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