2019 Step Up for Stefanie’s Champions: James Johnson

James Johnson

When Carla Johnson of Pataskala, Ohio, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she found her champion in her husband James.

The Johnsons were trying to grasp the reality of Carla’s diagnosis and discuss treatment options with her doctors at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) when Carla’s father was hospitalized and almost died. The hospital recommended placing her father in a nursing home while he recovered, but she and James worried that her father’s advanced dementia would worsen.

“James didn’t hesitate to offer to care for him in our home. He not only had me and our 8-year-old daughter to care for, but he also became the sole caregiver for my father,” she says. “He knew the impact but didn’t think twice.”

James works in a very small but busy auto body shop with only two employees – himself and the owner. Thanks to his gracious boss, James was able to attend every one of Carla’s appointments.

When it was time for Carla’s surgery, he took off a week, which ended up being critical for her recovery. Carla had always been sensitive to medication, and with her surgery, she became extremely ill every time she took a pill or had medication by IV. “Without hesitation, James held my hair while I threw up in the hospital, on the way home or throughout the night,” she says.

He continually reassured her. When Carla first saw her breast in the shower after surgery she became distraught. James jumped in the shower and held her while she cried. He sat with her at every chemotherapy treatment, holding her hand and reassuring her that she was his beautiful bride. “He was just as scared as I was throughout my journey, but he never once showed it,” she says.

James helped Carla cut her hair when it began to fall out. He helped shop for a wig. No matter how busy he was, he made Carla a priority. “This man went with very little sleep for weeks,” she says.

“When he mowed the lawn, he would take two to three laps, stop the mower and come inside to check on me. He would do this for hours until he was done mowing,” she recounts. “I always knew what a good man he was. He is my champion. He has taken on so much and never looked back.”

Help us honor Stefanie's Champions – and champions in your life – by taking part in the 2019 Step Up for Stefanie's Champions Walk/Run.