November 14, 2014, was a banner day for Jennifer Johnson as she finished her last chemotherapy treatment at Minnesota Oncology’s Fridley clinic, for breast cancer diagnosed last April. At her side were husband, Eric Johnson, son Aaron, age 13 and their dear friends Patti Rotzien and her son Logan, also age 13.
While under the care of her physician, Dr. Uzma Ali, and her caring team of nurses and support personnel at the clinic, Jennifer experienced a growing need to give back to help other cancer survivors and their families. Family and friends put their heads together and decided to host a neighborhood mini-carnival to help cancer survivors.
“Along with my husband Eric and son Aaron, our friends Patti and Logan organized a fundraiser in August in our Coon Rapids neighborhood,” reported Jennifer. “They had a dunk tank (where Aaron and Logan volunteered to be dunked) a bean bad tournament and lemonade stand, and also sold hot dogs. A couple of hundred people came by and enjoyed the day with us, making the event more successful than we had dreamed, raising nearly $2.000.”
Half of the proceeds from their fundraiser went split between Angel Foundation, a local non-profit foundation that provides non-medical financial assistance and support to families facing cancer. Mr. Mark Wilkening, President of Angel Foundation and Mr. Randy Thompson, Executive Director of Minnesota Oncology were on hand to express thanks and appreciation for the hard work and thoughtfulness of both families. The remaining funds were donated to the Ronald McDonald House, which provides housing near a hospitalized child, alleviating family stress and the expense of staying together in another city.
The Johnson and Rotzien families planned an end-of-treatment celebratory dinner that evening…and we celebrate the the power of grass roots community philanthropy and the “pay it forward” spirit.