If there’s one thing we can say about Judy Goodwin it’s that she shows up for others – without fanfare or expectation of reciprocity.
Judy was introduced to Runway through her daughter, Jocelyn Lee, who is a Survivor since 2013. When asked about the role that breast cancer has played in her life, Judy responds “I’m fine with it now – I wasn’t in the beginning, though.”
In January of 2019, less than a month after her daughter’s wedding, Judy was diagnosed. She went through a mastectomy and notes, “it’s strange not having a right breast but I’ve learned to live with it.” Jocelyn and her husband, John, took care of Judy throughout her illness. She went through radiation in the summer of 2019, before wrapping up treatment in the Fall.
During her radiation, doctors found something in her lungs, which was concerning. At first, they thought it was related to the radiation. Judy developed pneumonia, which never really went away. She was referred to a pulmonologist in NH and then was referred back to Brigham and Women’s.
All of this was happening while Jocelyn was planning a trip to Disney for her mother. The Disney trip was a chance to celebrate Judy feeling better after chemo, given how difficult treatment was for her: “It was awful.” In February of 2020, they went to Disney for their celebratory trip. Upon their return, the doctors let Judy know that she had small airway passage disease, which was there before her breast cancer, but exacerbated by the mastectomy.
Like the rest of the world, Judy went into quarantine in February 2020. Pre-pandemic, Judy was working in a thrift shop in Maine and had received a card from “a card angel,” which was an initiative through an organization that helps women going through breast cancer feel supported and not alone. When quarantine hit, they asked if Judy would be willing to make a card for a breast cancer patient. The entire kitchen table soon became an art station.
Jocelyn notes that her mother spent a lot of time doing it. Judy made cards to let people know there is someone out there who is “supporting them and thinking of them.” Jocelyn told us she truly felt like this process helped her mother with her healing.
We’ll note here that Jocelyn also told us about Judy making 32 meals on Wednesday nights and 8 family meals on Thursday nights for first responders in her town. Judy casually says “oh, yeah” almost as if she forgot about this incredible gesture she made. Her compassion flows naturally and her willingness to give her own time, effort and support to others is humbling.
Currently, Judy is a survivor. She thankfully notes, “now I’m fine – I go in every 6 months for breathing test and every year for a cat scan.”
When asked about her mother’s experience, Jocelyn notes “she never wallowed in it.” Judy adds “I just felt like ‘ok what am I going to do? I’m the only one who can help myself out of this mess so I’m not going to get depressed about it. They told me what the road was and I just needed to deal with the road.”
“It was two years of hell… I wasn’t going to give into it, I just had to pick up and keep going.”
We’re grateful to this mother-daughter duo for telling their stories, for showing up for each other, and for their communities. We welcome Jocelyn back to the stage and we welcome Judy for the first time – we can’t wait to cheer them on.