In 100 words or less, please describe an incident involving your nominee in which something they did or said serves as the best illustration of who he/she is::
While still teaching, Betty felt compelled to persistently insist on a custodian at her school getting a mammogram. The custodian felt that she could not afford to take time off nor the cost to get the test. Betty helped her locate access to getting the services and the custodian was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer. The treating physician describes Betty's persistence as life-saving. When asked why she openly speaks of her breast cancer diagnosis Betty quickly responds that it is to educate others and save lives.
What one word best describes your nominee?:
Tenacious (holding together firmly)
In 500 words or less, please describe why you feel your nominee deserves to be honored for the Strength in Pink Award. If possible, please provide specific accomplishments::
Betty should be honored because her life is dedicated to honoring others through teaching, nurturing, mentoring, and supporting. As a breast cancer survivor, cancer free for 4 years, she has transferred these attributes from the classroom as an English teacher for 18 years, to hospital rooms and into homes.
When Betty was diagnosed with Ductual Carcinoma in Situ she had never heard the terminology but quickly sought to learn everything she could about this threat to her life. As an educator, she values learning and putting knowledge into action, but never imagined she would have to learn of such, nor take action regarding such. This just over 4 ft. tall super active woman wanted to learn of her condition so that she could challenge and counter it in every way within her power. She has a deep and abiding faith in God that she knew would guide and handle the rest.
As her treatments progressed, Betty continued to teach school while receiving chemotherapy, a severely taxing routine. She had a dual focus – getting well and seeing her student through the school year. One student describes her as his absolute favorite teacher because she insisted that he learn, and did not let him off the hook. He said in the past he had gotten by without doing much because his family was well respected; however, none of this matter to Ms. Betty Johnson when it came to him learning to prepare for life. Betty took this approach to all of her students.
Betty came through her encounter with breast cancer but felt that there was work for her to do in supporting other who had cancer challenges, not knowing how close to home this mission would come. A dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and Betty became her coach to encourage her through treatments, take her to appointments, explain why she was having certain feelings, insist that she eat properly, and even take her for prosthesis fittings and lunch afterward. As if this mission was not close enough, Betty's sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer while Betty was still supporting her friend through the rigors of breast cancer.
Betty took her sister into her home to personally tend her and provide the same support. When she could not manage appointments for both, she would make arrangements for her friend through others, to assure that needs were met and treatments were not missed. Both ladies are looking on Betty from heaven and smiling with appreciation.
Betty Johnson deserves to be honored with the Strength in Pink Award because her teaching, nurturing, mentoring, and supporting ways have made life better for others in the classroom and well beyond.
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street