Run for your Life…. {Bend Oregon Portrait Photographer}

Earlier this year I was inspired to learn to run.. actually I skipped the learn to run bit and  signed up for our local 1/2 marathon training group  at our local running store – FootZone.

Coaching our group was a beautiful young woman called Johanna Olson, who knows how to run WELL ! Thanks to Johanna, 12 weeks later I completed my first ever 1/2 marathon.

Having a goal, and accomplishing it was vey rewarding.  Sort of like childbirth..  Although I must say a 1/2 marathon was a breeze compared to a 50 hour labor.

Going out for our Saturday group runs was always inspiring, running with Nancy, the most smiley blind runner you will ever seen, willing and ready to try anything and then there is Johanna.

It was no accident I needed to do a 1/2 marathon,  if I didn’t I never would have met Johanna.  Johanna has a story that will inspire you. I know she inspired me!

Johanna was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1997 and since has undergone surgeries and treatment to control her cancer.

She has a lot to share on  how to live life and I wanted to share that here. She showed me and I know others how you have to go out and do what it takes to complete your race whether it be a 1/2 marathon or your life.

“14 years ago I could never have imagined that I would have had 3 brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy! But here I am! Through these experiences, I hope that I have become a better person, helped others along the way, and that I continue to embrace the wonderful life that I have been given. The support I have, and continue to receive, inspires me each day! Thank you”
- Johanna Olson

To learn more about Johanna please go to  her website .

Sadly Johanna’s tumor grew  back and  in October surgery was required. Before she left to return to her hometown in Minnesota she and I went out and had some fun with my camera.

It was an honor to capture Johanna. I wanted to be able to give her the gift of images that will show her her beauty and inner strength when she might need it the most while recovering from her surgery.

Johanna is now back in Bend and is slowly returning back to her jolly ways and of course getting those running shoes on in small doses.

I asked Johanna to write a little something.

Here it is –

Throughout my life, family, running, and the outdoors have been my mainstays.  Through the good and the bad, they have carried me through and helped me to find my way. 

 August, 2011 turned out to be a moment in my life that would challenge me greatly.  It would be a time where I would need to find strength in the comforts of family, friends, and movement.

 After 14 years of “routine” MRI’s to check on my brain tumor, I don’t get that nervous anymore.  But in August, after just 14 months of clean scans, the medical team found new growth at the tumor site.  The first thing I did to clear my head, was go out for a run.

Just days after I was to fly to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, Jill captured my love of running and the outdoors through her camera lens! What a spectacular gift.  Now less than 3 months post-surgery, with low dose daily chemotherapy, I am working hard to find my way.  Running/walking is a big part of my recovery!

 Movement helps me every day to know I am blessed and that I have strength.  As my feet move along, one in front of the other, no matter the pace, I am reminded of the gifts in my life.  Gifts whish are many and that I hope to share with others.  Each step on this journey brings me strength and hope.  Thank you Jill, for capturing that so perfectly!

Johanna, December 8, 2011


Thank you Johanna for what you do, your sharing and caring gives others strength in more ways that you know. I can’t wait to run behind you in the future and see you leave me in the dust!


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