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Casselberry mother, daughter battling cancer at same time

Community supporting them through GoFundMe page

A Casselberry mother and daughter are both battling cancer at the same time. They're undergoing procedures this week at Florida Hospital Orlando. Their hometown is stepping up to help them during this difficult time.

What Deena Johnson thought was an annoying cough turned into something bigger. She says she had a pain in her side that sent her to the hospital on Feb. 20.

"I thought maybe I pulled a muscle, maybe my gallbladder busted. I didn't know. It scared me, so I said let me just go to the hospital," Johnson said.

Johnson says doctors found a large grapefruit sized tumor in her lung. They say it is cancerous.

"I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't really do anything to hurt my body and this happens," Johnson said.

Cancer is a scary diagnosis for any family and it is hitting Johnson's family twice.

"It's just unreal. It's just like unbelievable," she said. "We can't believe this is happening to either of us."

Johnson's mother Penny Hawkins was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2014. She had surgery back then to remove it. Hawkins says the tumor came back in January.

"It was crazy. It was really crazy. I was like, 'oh I can't believe this,'" Hawkins said.

Hawkins' tumor was removed. She is now getting ready for chemotherapy while her daughter prepares for surgery.

"I have to be there for my mom. I have to. I just need to get this done and over with so I can be as good as new for her," Johnson said.

They say they are each other's rocks. Their hometown of Casselberry is also stepping up. The community is raising money through a GoFundMe page to pay for Johnson's bills and medical expenses.

"I was worried to death about her because she can't go back to work. She can't work in here and even when she goes home, it takes a long time to recover," Hawkins said.

Both Johnson and Hawkins say the prayers and support are a medicine doctors can't prescribe, helping them both in their battles against cancer.


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