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Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson - Community advocate and non-smoking lung cancer survivor

Bill's story

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My name is Bill Johnson, and I live in Park City, Utah. I've lived here for over 30 years. I was diagnosed in June of 2023 with stage four, non-small cell lung cancer (non-smoking lung cancer). Obviously, it kind of blindsided myself and my family being diagnosed that actually just occurred from shoveling snow in my driveway. We had a record-breaking winter in late February of 2023. I kind of just thought I pulled my back out, really, which, you know, when you get into your early 40s, I was like, starting to realize that, hey, you pull your back out. For a couple of days, it just progressively got worse and worse. Until, you know, to the point where in about early June, my back completely seized to where I was completely immobile. 

An MRI and CT scan revealed that, you know, I had, lung cancer, the origination in my right lung, but it had metastasized so much that it was in my brain, all through my spine, down into my hips. And it was, I think the term what they used was wildly metastatic, lung cancer at that point. After spending a few months in the hospital and, and being treated at Huntsman, it left me searching for how did this happen? I'm a 43, I was at the time 43, healthy, avid mountain biker, skier, trail runner, father of two young boys. So, very busy, non-smoking, and ate really healthy. And so I was a little bit shell-shocked to say at least. There's a lack of education on radon and a lack of awareness. And so maybe, you know, I can think of solutions. But I do think there's just a general lack of awareness and seriousness to radon. 

And Utah in particular, we do know that it is a large contributor to non-smoking lung cancer in the United States, specifically in Utah. The message I would like to convey to the to the entire State of Utah is the importance of monitoring radon. The radon levels change with the variables of the seasons, the weather, you know, the ventilation within your house. 

And so it's just really important to monitor those levels. And be aware if those levels shoot high. And for stage four, you know, it's a morbid existence at times, and it's a battle to stay positive. And it's a battle to consistently get great care. And I'm one of the lucky ones where they were able to find a medication for me to keep that cancer at bay and not continue to metastasize. And so I'm very lucky to be in this position, but I'm definitely one of the lucky ones. There's others that don't have that option. 

And, and so, you know, for me, if my story helps, you know, again, nonsmoker, extremely healthy, healthy eater, very physically active, two young boys and to have some existence where I have to think about, you know, my boys growing up without their father because of something that is completely preventable should be enough for people to spend a little more time monitoring.

-- Bill Johnson - Community advocate and stage four non-smoking lung cancer survivor

(For more information on Radon visit the EPA.)

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