My name is Lenora Johnson, I have been a breast cancer survivor since 1999. In 2001, I founded Steel Magnolias. Our group has grown into an army of men (Men of Steel) and women who work shoulder to shoulder to offer comfort and hope to cancer patients, especially breast cancer. We work in Alabama, primarily in calhoun and surropunding counties, however through our website, our newsletter, through legislation we pushed through the 2009 Alabama general session and care packages we mail, our influence is felt in many places. Our desire is to offer patients caught like deer in the headlights, not knowing where to turn and facing unsure futures, courage and comfort for the challenges in their lives. Our supporters make our work possible. Thank you! Lenora
In 1999, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Thanks to God, I was diagnosed before my cancer spread. However, because of the seriousness of my cancer cell and because I didn't get a clear margin, I had bilateral mastectomy and TRAM reconstruction. I have never regretted my decision. It took me two years to reclaim my life and in that time I felt certain that there should be something or some group, locally to help women going through what I had just come out of. After several personal encounters with people who encouraged me to become an advocate, and finally having Chaplain Jim Wilson's phone number laid in my hand, I called the RMC Chaplain and said, "I think I should become minvolved in a breast cancer support group." I was told, "It will be more than becoming involved, you'll have to establish one, there is not one here in Anniston." The first meeting was in August, 2001. Since then we have grown into a recognized 501 c 3 nonprofit organization with a website , and are now a service, support and educational organization. We are a group of survivors, volunteers, no one, including me, receives a salary. All contributions go either to our many ministries inside Anniston's Regional Medical Center or to minister to patients wherever they live, with care packages and the monthly steel Magnolias Newsletter. In 2009, we were successful in pushing legislation through the Alabama general session, by unanimous vote in both the House and Senate that closed the loophole in Alabama's breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act. Our needs are increasedfunding so that we can continue to expand services and new computer and office equipment so that we can do more draft work in our RMC office. Before we adopt any new program, we test it by the Prayer of Jabez- First Chronicles 4:10 "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain."
My association with Steel Magnolias Breast Cancer support group, Inc. began in 2005 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My husband met a lady that was a member of Steel Magnolias. When she learned of my diagnosis, she asked my husband if Lenora knew about it. my husband asked Lenora who? In two days I received a packet from Lenora Johnson, Founder and Director of Stel Magnolias. Inside that packet were items that I needed following my mastectomy. I also received cards, phone clls and I knew they were praying for me, someone they did's know. Isn't that amazing? After my recovery and retirement from the Postal Service, I became a member of Steel Magnolias and have been with them ever since. It has been a privilege and joy to be a part of a group of women that have walked the same path as myself and care about reaching out to other women that are on this same journey. Steel Magnolias has been such an inspiration to me and I am so thankful for this fabulous organization.