John Johnson is well known on these pages. John passed away from mesothelioma in 2012.
His family had every reason to be bitter. John was misdiagnosed by the
VA. When he was diagnosed, an inexperienced VA surgeon attempted to operate
on the tumor but aborted.
John finally found
Dr. Robert Cameron, who performed a grueling 11 hour operation. But it would prove to be
too late to save John from his unrelenting disease.
Wanting justice, John pursued a lawsuit against the companies who poisoned
him with asbestos. His health was declining. But John knew that if he
did not complete his testimony, the defendants would win and his family
would be stuck with the ever-increasing bill for his illness.
One tough Marine, John hung on and preserved the record for his family
so the case would live on. He passed away shortly after completing this
The Johnsons prevailed in their lawsuit, thanks to John’s warrior
spirit and love of family. Thereafter, the Johnson family embraced John’s
warrior spirit and has fought to prevent their tragedy from smacking down
The Johnsons lobbied for a change in California law to make it less burdensome
for ill plaintiffs to enforce their legal rights. They prevailed. They
then lobbied to create a
Mesothelioma Center of Excellence at the VA hospital in West Los Angeles, headed by Dr. Cameron. Again, they prevailed.
The Johnson family stands for hope, for life, and for winning, against
impossible odds. For the past three years, they have been the lead sponsor of the
Dana Point Grand Prix Pro Men’s race. Son
Michael Johnson is a world class athlete, and he’s been using cycling as a vehicle
to get the message of hope out for mesothelioma patients.
The racers heard the message. They went from the gun, all out, never looking
back, not making excuses, and charged hard like it was their last race
ever. A breakaway of four formed early and they held off the charging
peloton at the line.
Karl Menzies of United Health Care, a tough, savvy and muscular veteran
pro hailing from Tasmania, took the victory. He was followed by youngsters
Tyler Magner (Hincapie Racing), from Georgia, and Canadian Ryan Aitcheson
of Team Astellas.
It was especially gratifying to have on hand another mesothelioma warrior,
Terry Latham, and his lovely wife Mary. Terry, now 74 years old, was operated on by
Dr. Cameron in June of 2010. Having recently celebrated his fifth year
as a survivor, Terry continues to love life and go for the gusto!
Well done bike racers! Kudos to the City of Dana Point for hosting a world
class event! Thank you John Johnson Family! And may the spirit keep moving
you Terry and Mary Latham!