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The Spirit of John Johnson Alive and Well at the 2015 Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling

Karl MenziesThe Men’s Pro race at the Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling this weekend exemplified what the John Johnson Family is all about – celebrating life, rewarding risks, never giving up, and going for the gusto.

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.

Michael Johnson Family
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 final mission.
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 other families.

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.

Latham Family

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.

future pro racer

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!


Categories: Events, Fight Mesothelioma

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