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Fifth annual Breeze for Needs Sat. in memory of Dave Johnson

July 14, 2008

By Jen Bakken
Staff Writer

The fifth annual Breeze for Needs Motorcycle Ride in memory of Dave Johnson will be Saturday, July 19.

Dave was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, which metastasized in his lungs January of 2003, only a few months before he and his wife, Jan Johnson, were planning to take an early retirement.

Dave worked for Delano Sports Center for 25 years as sales manager, and is remembered as man full of honesty and integrity, who cared about his customers.

He was also a man who loved to fish. The peace, serenity, and the challenge of the catch was something he truly loved.

Though he had been perfectly healthy, the cancer was already a stage four, and the prognosis was grim. The news, of course, was devastating and shocking.

“While ice fishing, he developed a cough, and thought maybe he had pneumonia,” remembered Jan Johnson. “They did an X-ray, which looked like there were snowflakes all over his lungs.”

He saw a specialist, had an MRI, then a biopsy, and within a few days received the news no one wants to hear – cancer. They were told Dave had an estimated six to 24 months to live.

Searching for any available treatment possibilities, he participated in clinical trials, visited numerous specialists, underwent many tests, and his right kidney was removed.

When Dave had a seizure, they found out the cancer was in his brain, and he also developed blood clots in his legs.

During the last two months of his life, Dave went blind and, though this was frustrating, he was never known to complain.

“I am stubborn and like to be in control,” admitted Jan. “But, I found out real fast that with cancer, I was not in control.”

Dave passed away peacefully following a kiss from Jan and cracking one of his silly jokes Oct. 5, 2004, 22 months after his diagnoses.

The first Breeze for Needs Ride was arranged in Dave’s honor by his co-workers in 2003.

“I think Dave knew about the ride before he passed away, but was probably embarrassed because he didn’t like to be in the spotlight,” Jan smiled. “I’m sure he was honored, but overall, would rather be fishing.”

Over the years, the Breeze for Needs ride has helped raise more than $13,000, and last year was a huge success with nearly 140 participants raising $3,500.

In Dave Johnson’s memory, this year’s ride is hoped to be an even bigger success.

Registration will take place at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. The ride leaves at 10 a.m. sharp, and will be led by the Crow River HOG Chapter through a scenic route.

There will be a short stop at Ridgeview Clinic in Howard Lake, followed by a party at Delano Sports Center and Crow River Harley-Davidson at 1 p.m.

The cost is $25 to ride, and $30 with a passenger. Cost includes food, beverages, and door prize entry. Even if you are not a rider, you are welcome to attend the party at Delano Sports Center and Crow River Harley-Davidson that will include food, beverages, music, and shopping.

The ride is sponsored by Delano Sports Center, Crow River Harley-Davidson, the Crow River Harley Owners Group (HOG) Chapter, and the Johnson family. All proceeds benefit Ridgeview Foundation and will provide essential support to Ridgeview Cancer Care.

Support services coordinated by Ridgeview’s Cancer Care team include the provision of social services to assist with financial or insurance concerns and help make connections with community resources.

Social workers become involved early in the process, helping patients and families examine their options, cope with the disease, and plan for the future.

Additional services include educational offerings and pastoral care, as well as Ridgeview’s Health Information resource center.

For more information regarding the Breeze for Needs Ride, or to register by phone, call (763) 972-2677.

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