Breast cancer survivor gets engaged at Roswell Park

Posted at 5:21 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 23:41:16-04

Many couples get engaged at a place that means something to them.  For one Niagara Falls couple, that place was Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Ashley Johnston was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 27-years-old.  When she heard the news, she had one thought.

"This doesn't happen to people my age," she said.

As Ashley took in the information, so did her then-boyfriend Mike, who was by her side when she got the diagnosis.

"It was really difficult to take at first," Mike said.  "More or less a blur.  Not understanding what's going on, but then you reevaluate, figure out what's next, and go from there."

That's exactly what the couple did.  For the next two years they navigated the journey together.  Ashley had a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation.  Finally, she was declared cancer-free, and was able to ring the bell in the Roswell lobby which signified the end of her treatment.  Mike was by her side as she rang the bell.

"That signifies you're a survivor.  That your cancer treatment is done," explained Ashley.  "To have him there while I rang it was really significant."

Years later, another significant moment happened as the couple visited the bell to reflect.

"We were in the area and walking towards the bell.  And reflecting like - remember when we used to look at that bell, and talk ab the next chapter in our life? 
And he said - here's to the next chapter, and Michael got on one knee and proposed," laughed Ashley.

She says she couldn't imagine a better place to begin the next chapter of their love story.

"I kept thinking I got such a good one.  He thought to take me back here.  At a place where I have such a strong moment.  To create another moment.  Now that bell has two meanings in a way.
I just knew if we can get through that - everything else is easy-peasy."

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