LAYTON -- Halloween has always been scary, but for Ginger Johnson, Halloween 2006 was terrifying.
Johnson, 35, of Layton, was five months pregnant when she received confirmation that the lump she found in her breast was cancer.
Her options were to abort the baby or undergo a mastectomy.
"Aborting the baby was never going to happen, so I went in for surgery and had my right breast removed," she said.
"The doctors wanted to see if the cancer had spread, but in order to test my lymph nodes, it would require radioactive dye, and that would have put the baby at risk, so I waited until I delivered."
After the successful delivery of her boy, Brooks, Johnson learned the cancer had indeed spread, so six weeks later, she began chemotherapy.
"Chemotherapy is nasty stuff. It makes you sick and you feel lousy," she said. "After my first treatment, I realized I wasn't going to be able to handle the next eight months if I didn't change the situation."
Believing there's always a way to find good even in the worst of situations, Johnson decided not to concentrate on herself and instead concentrate on those around her.
"I decided to start handing out gifts to the chemo patients at McKay-Dee Hospital. That's where I was getting my treatments," Johnson said.
"I went out to businesses and asked them if they would provide discounts and freebies. When I would get to the hospital for my treatments, I would stop and give everyone a present."
Johnson said as she handed out the presents she would wish people a Happy Chemo, even though she knew the treatments weren't going to make them happy.
Patients received everything from gift certificates to blankets.
"I just wanted to brighten their day a little bit, let them know someone was thinking about them," she said. "My goal is to reach every single cancer patient in America."
Johnson created the website www.happychemo.com and posted her story along with discount coupons and cancer support resources.
"I can't be everywhere at once, but I want the gifts to be," she said. "We are now distributing everywhere from Logan to Provo and will be spreading to Arizona, Colorado and Idaho."
Because of her generosity and inspiring story of courage and survival in the face of breast cancer, Johnson will be recognized by General Mills as one of five survivor ambassadors, said Jamie Josephson, senior account executive of Cone, a communications agency in Boston.
Johnson's picture will be featured on special pink packaging on an assortment of General Mills' brands this month. These brands will include Cheerios, Nature Valley Granola Bars and Green Giant frozen vegetables.
In addition, Johnson's story is featured on www.pinktogether.com, an online community of 680,000 cancer survivors and supporters who share their stories and provide support and encouragement to others.
"I think it's all very exciting," Johnson said.
"I really believe that God is aware of us and our situation, and as part of the human family, we need to be able to help each other and help make our situations better.
"Cancer isn't going away anytime soon. My mission is to help people deal with it and fight it right now."