The Healing Power of Nature with Dana Bach Johnson, A Cancer Survivor

by Jackie Robinson
213 views 5 min read

Dana’s story of being a cancer survivor and her goal of visiting all of the 423+ plus US parks is fascinating. She understands the importance of the healing power of nature, her version of Eco Therapy and getting fresh air in your lungs. It is her belief that nature is so refreshing and healthy. 

Dana’s Story

Growing up, I always loved going to YMCA camp and doing the polar bear club and road runner activities. My Dad had MS but he didn’t let his disability take away his love of nature. We would hunt for arrowheads, visit farms to pick local berries and go to fun outdoor festivals. My mom is my inspiration as she taught me the love of adventure. From Neskowin, Oregon to the Big Island of Hawaii to skiing at Mt. Bachelor to Vail, Colorado. We were always on the go with friends … clam digging, to the space needle, to DC. 

In my twenties, my brother Troy and I started to do the National Park circuit, which consisted of 62 parks at the time. We toured all 5 in Utah, and 3 in Alaska, plus North Cascades in Washington and Joshua Tree in California for a total of 10.

Then my career and kids happened. 

Fast forward to the Holidays of 2019 and my sister sent me a story about Andy McGee, and his quest to see all 420+ National Park Units. I was in Hawaii and after reading the article, I got inspired and that day I visited a new park. This is the first park I visited solo. I dropped the tribe off to go zip-lining in Hawaii and boogied back down the hill to visit Pu`ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site and walk amongst Hawaiian royalty. 

What do you mean I have cancer?

I had not been feeling well for a while and being outside made me feel so good. Then in Jan. 2020, I was diagnosed with an aggressive HER2+ breast cancer. I battled cancer during COVID. I was basically in quarantine for over a year with 6 rounds of chemo, surgery, 5 weeks of radiation and 11 immunotherapy treatments. My doctor, Nathalie Johnson, told me to clear my calendar for a year, and it was intense. I spent a lot of time dreaming of visiting National Parks. 

Nature,  A Healing Source

My site started as a site to share my ideas on ways to help the environment, which after becoming a Climate Reality Leader with Al Gore’s program, morphed into sharing ways in how to not consume single use plastics. And it is now where I share my adventures to inspire others to get outside. My motto is Adventure + Advocate. Explore + Educate.  

Jackie didn’t realize she had a deep connection to nature. After many conversations with Dana, she recalled so many hikes and adventures in nature. She loves to garden and she can see her future of becoming a bird watcher. She is even going to get out her big camera to capture them. 

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