Fight the Good Fight, Help Samantha Johansen Knockout Cancer

For: Samantha Jo Johansen
Orlando, FL
Organizer: Frederick Johansen
Fight the Good Fight, Help Samantha Johansen Knockout Cancer (Samantha Jo Johansen)
of $100,000 goal
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Raised by 845 donors

The Story

After years of trying to have a baby, Samantha and Fred Johansen’s prayers were answered. 

Frederick Knox was born on November 4, 2016.  Samantha is tough, but tiny – so carrying an 8lb + baby wasn’t easy (carrying babies in general isn’t easy!).  Surprisingly, symptoms and pains that were associated with pregnancy didn’t go away as expected. Just 7 weeks after Knox’s birth, tests revealed a tumor. Days later, Sam was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer with numerous metastatic tumors on her liver. 

Family, church family, friends and colleagues know that Sam is a ray of sunshine. Her outer beauty is nothing compared to her amazing kindness, compassion and selflessness. She is joyful and loving – and she is determined to fight AND beat this. 

Sam is deeply loved by so many people. Now is the time she needs your love, prayers and support as she undergoes treatment. First and foremost, please pray for Sam, her new baby, Fred and her family. Second believe in Sam and her strength to kick this awful disease. And finally, please consider providing financial support – in any amount – to help the Johansen family with lost wages, travel and other unexpected expenses related to Sam’s treatment.

You can support Sam by making a donation. Please encourage your friends and family to do the same by sharing this page widely and frequently. Your generosity will mean everything to Samantha, her family, and friends.

A note from Sam….

Everyone has a story... this is just a chapter in mine. It’s a surreal feeling as a 33-year-old healthy and active woman hearing you have stage 4 Colorectal Cancer.  Barely 2 months after giving birth to our son, Knox.

Countless thoughts, scenarios and feelings run through your mind as you try to piece it all together. This however, I know to be true... I serve a big God, one that saves, one that heals and one that has a plan for my life. So as I begin the fight of my life, all I can ask for are your prayers, encouragement, love and support – not just for me, but for my husband Fred, our newborn baby Knox and the rest of our family and friends.

I know that second to my faith the thing that will get me through this is my army of family and friends. Just over the past few weeks I am overwhelmed with the amount of energy, time and dedication my team has put into getting me the best possible treatment. 

Fred, my Husband, my Warrior, my Best Friend – God has put you in my life for such a time as this.  Words cannot express how hopeful and inspired I am as I watch you cope with this.   I know that our love will only grow stronger as we walk this road hand-in-hand. I wouldn't want anyone else in my corner.  

Sabrina, my cup runneth over, you are my Sister, and I love you so much.  

Jess, I cannot find the words to express the love I have for you.  Our friendship is everything to me.  

Kim, you never cease to amaze me. I am so incredibly blessed to have you in my life not just as a boss, but as a friend and mentor.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do for me. My church family at Discovery Church Southwest and DC Students, all your love, encouragement, prayers, dinners, cards, etc. are taken to heart – I love you. 

To the rest of my family, friends and community... this is not going to be easy. Thank you for your support, making me laugh, getting me out of the house...Together we will fight the good fight, and our Faith will sustain us. 

God did not intend us to do life alone, so with you all by my side, I know we will get through this.  

I can do all this through him who gives me strength
.- Philippians 4:13

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 2, 2018


Posted on March 2, 2018

"Anyone who holds onto life just as it destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever..." John 12:25

'Cause I'm hot then I'm cold
I'm yes then I'm no
I'm in then I'm out
I'm up then I'm down...

Katy Perry could not have depicted my life at the moment any better. Moving into 2018, I felt encouraged, motivated and a strong sense of peace. Sooo it should come as NO surprise that the enemy has tried to take advantage of that. He knows our weaknesses and targets those until we surrender to his lies. So if I'm being honest January/February has been no easy feat. Although physically I feel better than I have in a year, mentally its been a tug of war. One day I'm focused, motivated and encouraged - posting workout videos and loving every second. Then the next day I wake up just well, indifferent. If I'm being honest, it’s taken me 3 days just to write this. There are days I feel so fragile and overwhelmed. Case and point, last weekend I made my first (and hopefully last) trip to the Apple Store.

WORST. PLACE. EVER. Can I get an amen?!

How people actually enjoy being there - I will never understand.

Anywho, I sat there for 4 hours on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I was in the middle of chemo. My brain was foggy, there were waaaaay to many people in my personal space (actually, you have no personal space there), I was so tired and I just couldn’t focus enough to make a decision. The Apple Store is the LAST PLACE one should be indecisive. My point is, there are days when I feel like the worst of it is behind me and then “Bam” I’m an emotional Yo-Yo,  jerked down into dark places where fear, anxiety and sadness loom.  Sigh. Thankfully a friend reminded me that the mental battle is just a tough as the physical.   I have to consciously remind myself that each day is a blessing and a battle.

"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed." - Maya Angelou

It's true that you gain more joy doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I could do this more and quite frankly I can’t wait to give back, like really impact people the way I have been impacted by all the love and hope I’ve received.  Since I've been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people.   My family, friends and complete strangers have held me up and encouraged me in so many ways.  One thing I have learned over the past year is how to be a better receiver. I love doing things for others so being on the opposite end isn’t always easy.  It sounds silly, I know. It’s so humbling and I just hope and pray that I am able to pay it forward one day.

Nurses, the Heart of Healthcare

Over the past 14 months, I've met my fair share of nurses. My consensus, they have a special place in heaven! God spent a little more time on ya'll, giving you hearts of gold, warm spirits and a sensitive touch. With it being nurse appreciation week, I'd like to acknowledge all the nurses out there and say THANK YOU for what you do. It takes a very special person to do what you do. I appreciate your talent and thoughtful care so much. And for the special nurses in my life: Ashley Angelotti, Ashley Lucille, Amber Defino, Monica Asorey, Stinzi at MSK, Doreen at UFCC, Vicki at MSK my heart goes out to you - thank you for your help with answering questions about my healthcare and Knox's over the past year. We love you!

Happy Birthday to... ME!

Fred always laughs because I've been known to celebrate my birthday for a week - "Sam's birthday week!" Although this year it’s taken on a whole new meaning. 35! Birthdays are life - it’s another year of fulfilling God's purpose for my life. Sure it’s just a number but when you have cancer it’s also a milestone.  I got to experience life with the love of my life, make beautiful memories, achieve new goals, watch my son experience so many firsts. My 35th will be filled with celebration, gratitude and hope… and will definitely take at least a week!

Road to Recovery

On January 14, we headed back to NYC for more scans, doctor consults and a new treatment plan. CT showed my liver is rejuvenating fine - thank you Lord.  Under Dr. Kemeny's direction, we are praying for a new treatment plan for those little nodules on my lungs.  

So on March 14th (yes, my Birthday) we are praying that Dr. Kemeny will read us the results from the CT scan and that  A) the current chemo treatment has shrunk the cancer enough to ablate or B) it has killed the cancer altogether. Prayers for plan B! We will also be meeting Dr. Stephen Solomon, Interventional Radiologist to discuss surgery and next steps.  

It is in my heart to be as transparent as possible. That being said, we humbly ask for you to continue donating, following/sharing our story (I hope to impact your life just as you have mine) and praying for the following:

- Chemo pills have done their job and lung spots are gone or can be removed

- Full and complete healing

- Peace and Encouragement

- God's provision

- Protection as we travel to and from NYC

- Remembering to Choose Joy everyday - life is fragile, precious and unpredictable. Each day is a gift.


Posted on December 31, 2017


Posted on December 31, 2017

"You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand." John 13:7

2017... easily the worst year of my life. How many times have I caught myself staring into space - thinking “how did this happen?”… “why did this happen?”   I prided myself on eating healthy, I exercised almost everyday – even through pregnancy.  I’ve always been uber-conscious of how I took care of myself.  For months after I was told of my diagnosis I was in total shock.  I think about how everyone was shocked, everyone except God.  Maybe one day I'll understand why and how this happened, then again maybe not. 

I have learned so much this year.  About myself, life, relationships…about adversity, hope and the power of prayer. 

And after:

100+ nights in hospitals

3 major surgeries

Most of my liver and a gallbladder removed

An ilestomy on one side of my stomach and a hockey-puck-shaped metal pump on the other

13 bouts with systemic chemotherapy,

6 pump infusions with a much more potent chemotherapy drug

2017 mercifully comes to an end, the one lesson I’ve had to learn is that we really do have a choice about how we live our lives.  About our attitude, outlook and perspective.

Even when we are bombarded with external circumstances that bring heartache and sorrow, we have a choice as to how we let those trials effect us …we can choose Joy.  It may sound cliché’ but when you are forced to make that conscious choice daily (granted, easier said than done) it becomes a decision as real as deciding what to wear.   Always remind yourself that you have a choice, to CHOOSE JOY.


I'll be honest, from December 14 (the day of my diagnosis) through March is all a blur. I remember feeling like this was no big deal, I don't really have cancer - I was in COMPLETE DENIAL. Sitting through my first round of chemo (Jan 13), I remember thinking this is going to be a piece of cake.  Boy was I wrong! The past 12 months has brought about overwhelming feelings of sadness, confusion, disappointment, anxiousness and anger. Fred and I lost count of the number of nights we spent in emergency rooms and hospital beds.   But in the midst of the trial I've also experienced great joy, encouragement and gratitude for all of life’s simple blessings.

The rollercoaster of emotions has not been easy for me to deal with, maybe even harder to watch the toll it has taken on the people that love and care for me. Your messages, phone calls, care packages, donations and prayers are a HUGE factor in what got me through everyday. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. To my family (the Seidman's and Johansen's) your love, support and prayers are my oxygen.


- Having the most incredible caretaker who fought for me every step of the way

- Receiving a plan from the team at MSK to save my life

- HAI pump worked and shrunk my tumors enough to get me to a liver resection surgery

- Having a quick recovery after each surgery

- My girls bringing the joy of Disney to the hospital when I couldn't go to the park

- Spending extra time with Knox - watching him learn and grow

- Judging World's Perfect Pageant 1 day after chemo

- Walking in New York Fashion Week

- Feeling the prayers of love, encouragement and  support from everyone

- The strength God gave me each day to get up and do life

- Being placed in the hands of the best surgeons for the ileostomy reversal, removal of my primary tumors and liver resection


- Side effects of chemo - feeling physically and mentally beat down

- So many unknowns

- Emotional feelings (denial, confusion, anger, sadness, fear, frustration, exhaustion, disappointment)

- Being away from Knox for days and sometimes weeks at a time

- Seeing the effects this has had on Fred and our family

- Having an ileostomy 


This hasn't just been my journey. We've all been in this together. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge my husband, Fred.  For who you are, and specifically all you’ve done this past year. Since the day our dreams and future plans came crashing down, you have relentlessly fought for me.  You’ve been by my side every single day. I've never seen anyone research more (he carries around a binder that must weigh 10lbs to every Dr.'s appointment). You've driven me to every doctor’s appointment, and 3 days/week for fluids, spent countless nights sleeping in a chair at the hospital, you’ve taken care of me when I was sick AND you’ve taken care of our baby.  You’ve been my "mule" on every trip carrying luggage, backpacks filled with medicine while wheeling me through airports... I could go on and on.  I can't imagine the stress, anxiety, sadness and fear you have experienced this year. I could not have done it without you.  It makes me smile to say that our relationship has never been stronger - I now know what unconditional love is. 


I'm so thankful to say, that on December 8 (only 3 shorts weeks ago) the Dream Team at MSK performed a successful resection leaving me with about 30% of my liver. With and in God's strength I was up and walking less than 24 hours after surgery, and we were discharged in only 5 days.  The Doctors/Nurses said it was one of the quickest recoveries they’d ever seen.  That's what we call a "God thing!"


I have experienced many victories in 2017 - but unfortunately beating Advanced Cancer like mine is no easy feat.  Just before my liver resection, the surgery that we had been praying and fighting so hard to get to, I got another dose of unexpected bad news.  The latest scans showed that there are some spots on my lungs that are growing.  That means we're headed back to NYC for more doctor appointments, a new chemo cocktail and hopefully another surgery.  Just thinking of the next few months is overwhelming and honestly a little bit ... actually a lot scary. Just when I’ve started to feel stronger and put on some weight I’m scared that chemo will knock me down and keep me there for months. And so we meet again...


- A new plan from MSK (one that will limit our trips to NYC. traveling is exhausting... and expensive)

- I will experience minimal side effects from the new chemo cocktail

- Peace, strength and wisdom

- Continuing to juggle this illness and being a parent (Knox isn't getting ANY smaller)

- Taking one day at a time - remembering that is all we are promised 

- I'm asking God to do the Impossible.  Praying for Full and Complete healing.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 


Posted on November 26, 2017


Posted on November 26, 2017

Psalms 95:2 says "Let us come before Him with Thanksgiving..."

As we celebrated Thanksgiving - a time of reflection, appreciation, family and love, I'd personally like to THANK each and every one of you for the way you've impacted my life this past year. During a time of turmoil and pain, you prayed, encouraged, donated, sent cards, messages, emails... you called, you sent thoughtful gifts, you shared our story. On behalf of Fred, Knox, Cassius and both the Seidman and Johansen families we appreciate you all so very much!

"Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security." 
 Jeremiah 33:6

Last month Fred and I spent 10+ days in NYC for a scheduled liver resection and ileostomy reversal. Well, the surgeon and God had other plans. Although the reversal did happen we were told the liver resection would be postponed until Dec. I won't get into the details, but as you can image Fred and I were very disappointed. BUT I was reminded that God does have a plan for me, plans to prosper me, not to harm me but to give me hope and a future. So... we press on and will head back to "the city that never sleeps" on December 5 for my liver surgery scheduled for December 8. It will be a long and emotional couple of weeks, but we hope to be back home just in time to celebrate Christmas with Knox and our families. 

I speak for both Fred and I when I say, this has been, by far, the hardest year of our lives. I have good days and bad days, days of discouragement, weakness, worry and doubt... days where I want to crawl into my shell and be left alone. But someway, somehow God has brought me through and given me the strength and peace I've needed each and everyday. I tell you this because the struggle is REAL. Life is hard and so very fragile - so don't take each other or your health for granted. 

With that, we humbly ask for you to continue donating (not only does cancer suck, it’s darn expensive!), following our story (I hope to impact your life just as you have mine) and praying for the following:

- A successful liver resection!

- Dr. D' Angelica's team of doctors and nurses

- Strength and Healing

- Pre-surgical testing comes back clear 

- Peace and Patience

- GiGi as she takes care of Knox and Cassius (her 2 boyfriends)

- Safe travels to and from NYC

- Thoughtful and kind nurses

- A discharge date that would get us home in time for Christmas 

We love and appreciate you all, more than you'll ever know. If you'd like a Christmas card from The Johansens please send Fred or I your mailing address.

Fred: [email protected]

Sam: [email protected]




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