Friday, January 21, 2011

Ask Governor Chris Christie (NJ) to Support NET and Carcinoid Cancer Awareness

Today was another snow day, and I took the opportunity to grade essays, sleep-in past 4:30 am, and write an email to Governor Chris Christie (NJ) - asking that he join the other 16 US governors who have signed proclamations in support of NET and Carcinoid cancer awareness:

Dear Governor Chris Christie,

As a New Jersey resident and survivor of carcinoid cancer, I am writing to you in hopes that you will become the 17th governor to proclaim November 10th as Worldwide NET and Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Day.

Last April, at the age of 35, I was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer, which is a rare cancer caused by neroendocrine tumors. I was sick for over 5 years, but because carcinoid cancer is so rare, doctors didn't suspect it as the cause of my illness. When they finally did discover the neuroendocrine tumor in my appendix, it had grown so large that I had to have several lymph nodes and 1/2 of my colon removed at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in order to stop any further spread of this deadly disease. (To learn more about my personal journey in fighting carcinoid, visit my blog:

At the end of last school year, I made the difficult decision of sharing my carcinoid cancer diagnosis with the students, faculty and staff of Paramus Catholic High School (PC), where I teach 11th and 12th grade English. The outpouring of love and support from the PC community was overwhelming and humbling. I managed to convince my doctors to wait until the summer to schedule my surgery, so that I could finish out the school year. When I returned to the classroom this September, I was inspired and moved by the students' continued care and concern, and their commitment to raising awareness about this rare cancer.

November 10, 2010 was the first ever "Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day" (WNCAD), and the PC students designed their own mini-campaign to educate the school community about my rare cancer. In particular, students featured zebra stripes (carcinoid awareness ribbon colors) on the morning news broadcast; decorated bulletin boards with carcinoid information; and distributed carcinoid awareness pamphlets, pins, stickers and bracelets. Most impressively perhaps, they gathered 792 signatures for the WNCAD Proclamation (which can be found at In fact, the Paramus Catholic students' efforts were featured by the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation's blog ( and

Won't you please join in the campaign to increase awareness about NET cancers and join 16 other governors in declaring November 10th as Neurendocrine and Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Day?

Thank you,
Marlena Johnston

16 Governors Proclaim November 10th as Worldwide NET and Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Day: Deval Patrick (Massachusetts), Arnold Schwarzenegger (California), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), Brian Scweitzer (Montana), Pat Quinn (Illinois), Dave Heineman (Nebraska), Haley Barbour (Mississippi), Chet Culver (Iowa), Mark Parkinson (Kansas), Brad Henry (Oklahoma), Mike Beebe (Arkansas), Jennifer Granholm (Michigan), David Paterson (New York), M. Jodi Rell (Connecticut), Jay Nixon (Missouri), Jim Doyle (Wisconsin).


If you would like to help convince Chris Christie to issue a WNCAD proclamation, simply copy and past the below email and submit it online HERE.

Dear Governor Christie,

One of your constituents - a teacher at Paramus Catholic High School and carcinoid cancer survivor, Marlena Johnston - recently requested your support in the campaign to raise awareness for neuroendocrine tumors and carcinoid cancers. I support her in her efforts, and respectfully ask that you join the governors of: Massachusetts, California, Louisiana, Montana, Illinois, Nebraska, Mississippi, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, Missouri and Wisconsin in proclaiming November 10th as "Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day".

Thank you,
(your name)


  1. Wonderful and so inspiring. I think I will write my governor now as well, since Texas is not on that list.

  2. Thanks Stephanie and Sunshine - you guys totally inspire me! I am very lucky to have the support of other carcinoid survivors :) Stay well my friends.