Comox Valley rallying to support pillar of the arts community

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson has recently been diagnosed with cancer for the second time

Ramona Johnson at the I-Hos Gallery. Photo by Ali Roddam/Black Press

Ramona Johnson at the I-Hos Gallery. Photo by Ali Roddam/Black Press

A prominent member of the Comox Valley and K’ómoks First Nation is facing her second battle against cancer, and the community is rallying together in order to help.

Ramona Johnson has been managing the I-Hos Gallery since its inception 25 years ago and is a cancer survivor. Recently, she has been diagnosed with stage 3C breast cancer and will undergo eight cycles of chemotherapy every two weeks, followed by a double breast mastectomy, lymph node removal surgery and radiation. She will then have 10 to 15 years of hormone treatments, explained her close friend Brenda Murray.

“I’ve seen Ramona through so many challenges,” she explained. “We met about 20 years ago when she encouraged me to get fit and do the Vancouver Sun Run. Then she got picked to run the torch run for the (Vancouver winter) Olympics when it came through the Comox Valley. She’s really a dedicated woman who is passionate about her community and people.”

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Murray described Johnson as the first person to jump into any situation to help.

“She has an uncanny ability to put herself out there.”

As a result, Murray has started a fundraiser for her friend, as she will not be able to work for about a year or more, and is looking to raise about $50,000 to cover expenses from loss of work.

She added Johnson has also given back to her community, and now it is her turn for the community to give back to her.

She created a GoFundMe page, which had raised more than $13,000 by Sunday (May 9). Additionally, the I-Hos Gallery is creating an online auction to raise money for Johnson – more details will be available through the gallery’s website ( or Facebook page.

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