Local man celebrates his last breast cancer treatment

By Victoria Hansenvhansen@abcnews4.comNORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Ask Raymond Johnson how long it's been since his battle began and he'll tell you six{}months."Yeah, it really feels like six months, a long six months."Actually, it's been a year."This is a blessing for me, it really is."Raymond was just 26 when he was diagnosed with a disease most often associated with women -- breast cancer.{} As if that wasn't enough, he didn't have health insurance.{} He applied for a federal program for breast cancer patients, but was denied because he is not a woman.{} His story made national news and within weeks an exception was made.That was August 2011.He has since endured months of chemotherapy and even underwent a mastectomy.{} Now it's time to get his final treatment."Where is he?" said Susan Appelbaum.{} She is the nurse navigator at the Charleston Cancer Center.{} She has been with Raymond since the beginning.Wednesday she planned a big surprise.{} So big, it's hard to hide.But it certainly catches Raymond's eye as walks up to the center to cheering and applause."We wanted to do something special for you.{} You're a special person," said Appelbaum.The bright, pink fire truck is covered with signatures in memory of those lost and those who have survived breast cancer.{} Raymond flashes a smile as he quickly takes a pen to the pain and writes, "survivor"."Thank you, thank you all very much.{} I wouldn't have made it without y'all."Raymond heads inside for a final check up with his doctor.{} But there's one more stop to make before he{}heads off for that last cancer treatment."They told me a lot about you," said Latisha Chong.{} At 23, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. {}She clutches a tissue as tears streak her young face.{} Raymond talks softly about what got him through."You've got to stay positive," he said.{} "You have to smile."As the two part ways, Latisha smiles.{} Raymond, meantime, climbs into that big, pink fire truck.{} It is his personal ride to the hospital, just down the street.But he's not just thinking about himself."I have faith in her I hope that my little talk that I had with her today encouraged her a little more,"{} said Raymond."Like I told her, anytime she needs to talk or anything like that she can just call me and I can encourage her for that day."One day at a time is how Raymond has done it -- 365 days, one at a time.

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