Nannie & Nana: My inspiration as I tackle my personal ‘Race of the Cure’ at 33

Diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer this October at age 33, Johanna Yemm is determined to ‘Sting Cancer Like a Bee’!

My Nannie and Nana are my inspiration as I tackle my personal ‘Race of the Cure’, who, before me, faced this battle with dignity, courage and pride. I love and miss you Nannie and Nana…you will be close to my heart, soul and spirit each and every single day.  Please watch over me and help me find the strength to wake up each morning feeling determined and motivated to rid my body of this cancer and move forward with my life in pride, positivity and peace.

Yemms 3 copyMy family is no stranger to breast cancer.  I was eight when my maternal grandmother died at age 52 from metastatic breast cancer.  My paternal grandmother was approximately 40 when she had a radical mastectomy, no reconstruction.  She died at 73 from recurrent breast cancer that metastasized.  Our family discussed their cancers, but we never got together for events such as the Race for the Cure. Now having been diagnosed with breast cancer I feel an even deeper connection to them and want to keep their memory alive by walking with my family and friends in the Susan G Komen Race for a Cure. 

I was diagnosed on October 16, 2013, at age 33, with stage IIIB inflammatory breast cancer.  Though I never knew much about the type of breast cancer my grandmothers had, this history was enough for me to self-advocate when I noticed changes in my left breast in September 2013.  A mammogram showed skin thickening, but otherwise was deemed “negative”, which is the case for most inflammatory breast cancers.  I requested a biopsy, because of my family history and the appearance of my breast.  And now I am fighting for my life by receiving 6 months of chemotherapy, mastectomy and radiation treatment. 

I feel honored that my family started Team JoJo Boo Bee’s to honor our Nannie and Nana, and to help support me in my fight against breast cancer. I also want to use this as a platform to promote healthcare self-advocacy and awareness.  The Race for the Cure (walking or running) is a perfect fit for me.   As a former college athlete I recognize the importance of being physically fit, eating healthy and working as a team to obtain a common desirable goal.  My Boo Bee’s will be buzzing at our events to help raise awareness of inflammatory breast cancer and they will be walking or running along side of me to help me sting my cancer like a bee!

Through this fight I will be channeling the unwavering support and love of my fiancé, my parents, my sisters, my extended family and my incredibly loyal and determined friends (we are all TEAM “Boo Bee’s”). The Race for the Cure provides a way for my team to honor my grandmothers and other loved ones who have fought this battle. 

Read more about Team JoJo’s Boo Bee’s – the Team’s Team for 2014 – in our Pink Ribbon of the Month article.

Pictured: Danielle Yemm, Kelly Kelly, Elliana Sansone, Johanna Yemm, Jessica Sansone


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