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Letter to the Editor: Lorraine Pace Thanks NYS Senator Owen Johnson for His Service

July 16, 2012

To the Editor:

It has been my honor and pleasure to know Senator Owen Johnson for the past 20 years. His never-ending generosity to the community never ceases to astound me.

In 1992, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I realized that there weren’t any breast cancer awareness organizations in Suffolk County. I was also concerned with the amount of women in my area who were diagnosed with breast cancer and how many of them lived on dead-end streets. I was also concerned about a local company that had been dumping cadmium, chromium, and other harmful chemicals into the ground since 1932. With those concerns, I met with Senator Johnson to see if he could secure funding for a scientific evaluation of a survey to create an incident map in West Islip.

Senator Johnson not only got the necessary funding for the survey but he remained an avid supporter of our cause. This support has resulted in raising awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection. Without him, we would have never been able to receive the funding needed to validate the scientific findings of the mapping project.

The mapping project that he obtained the funding for spread throughout Long Island, New York State, across the nation and in England, Australia and Japan. Without his encouragement and dedication to this vital issue, much of what we learned from the project would have been lost.

Senator Johnson and Senator Caesar Trunzo were instrumental in the funding of placing the first digital mammography system on Long Island at Stony Brook University Medical Center. He was also able to obtain the necessary funding for the most up-to-date digital mammography system for North Shore LIJ Southside Hospital that has been placed in the Bohlsen Women’s Imaging Center in Islip.

Both he and Senator Kemp Hannon were avid supporters of establishing the New York State Cancer Registry. Senator Johnson initiated the “Give a Gift to Breast Cancer” check-off on New York State income tax forms to help fund the state’s breast cancer research. Along with Cornell Cooperative, he helped launch a study of the effects of herbicides and pesticides in the environment in the Village of Lindenhurst. The study showed how non-chemical applications to prevent weeds and unwanted insects could be used as effectively without causing harm to the environment.

Senator Johnson continued to support the breast cancer movement through grants from the New York State Department of Health for Breast Cancer Help, Inc. and our Long Island Cancer Help and Wellness Center. The State of New York was very fortunate to have such an extremely dedicated individual such as Senator Johnson. With his retirement from the State Senate, there will be an empty seat that will be very difficult to fill. Very few will possess his compassion and understanding of the needs of not only his district but that of Long Island and the entire state of New York.

The people of Long Island are indebted to Senator Johnson for all that he has done for breast cancer. We are so very grateful.


Lorraine Pace
President
Breast Cancer Help, Inc.

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