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Published December 11, 2011, 10:36 PM

Grand Forks Woman Starts Foundation to Help Cancer Survivors’

Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) - A Grand Forks woman is starting a foundation to help cancer survivors’ deal with emotions of the deadly disease.

By: David Schwab, WDAY

A Grand Forks woman is starting a foundation to help cancer survivors’ deal with emotions of the deadly disease. Ashley Johnson saw a need after being diagnosed with cancer.

It's been three years since Ashley Johnson was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. She was fortunate in that the cancerous mole and skin around it were removed. But Johnson says the fear of cancer will be with her for life.

Ashley Johnson – Cope Well Foundation President: "The emotional effects tend to get over looked and ignored and they are just not dealt with properly.”

Shortly after her diagnosis Johnson worked to create skin cancer awareness for young people.

Ashley Johnson – Cope Well Foundation President: "Besides just going out and raising awareness I really wanted to get to the core of what cancer survivors were dealing with and that was the emotional struggles."

That is why Johnson is creating the Cope Well Foundation. The goal is to provide emotional support to those who have or once had cancer. That will include free professional counseling.

Ashley Johnson – Cope Well Foundation President: "Bringing people together into one unified support team; to Support the cancer community.”

Ashley has put together a foundation of board that consists of members who have been closely affected by cancer.

Sheena Helmstepler - Cope Well Board Member: “Just dealing with it. Having cancer and going through treatment and have your life be disrupted the way the way that it can be."

Sara Carlson - Cope Well Board Member: “After my dad passed away I went to therapy and I wouldn't be the same person I am today if I wouldn't have done that.”

Johnson's ultimate goal is to grow the foundation and expand to surrounding communities.

Ashley Johnson – Cope Well Foundation President: "There are maybe national organizations that offer the same kind of support that we do. But nothing that is truly local that is doing as effectively as we are. "

The Cope Well Foundation will officially begin January 1st.

To learn more, go to copewell.org.

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