Don Blair

GA Voice - - News / Georgia News -

Garner also re­veals that she went straight from treat­ment to the June 26 rally at the Cen­ter for Civil and Hu­man Rights to celebrate that morn­ing’s U.S. Supreme Court de­ci­sion strik­ing down same-sex mar­riage bans na­tion­wide.

“I’m sup­posed to limit how much I can be out in public be­cause of the na­ture of treat­ment,” she says. “But this was just some­thing that I could not pass up. Be-

July 10, 2015

sides, my part­ner was mar­ry­ing peo­ple.”

Garner’s part­ner is Ful­ton County State Court Judge Jane Mor­ri­son, who presided over the mar­riage of Emma Foulkes and Pet­rina Blood­worth that morn­ing, mak­ing them the first same-sex cou­ple in the coun­try to marry fol­low­ing the Supreme Court de­ci­sion.

Garner says the di­ag­no­sis gives her a unique lens through which to ad­dress an is­sue im­por­tant to her dur­ing her 2010 cam­paign and through­out her ten­ure—health care.

“It’s funny. I look at this like, I deemed my­self the ‘health com­mis­sioner’ right? So I’m get­ting first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence on what it’s like nav­i­gat­ing through the med­i­cal sys­tem,” she says. “I am def­i­nitely aware of how peo­ple are treated and I hope through this ex­pe­ri­ence it will also help my role mov­ing for­ward as a com­mis­sioner who is fo­cus­ing on the health and well-be­ing of all cit­i­zens.”

Linda El­lis, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Health Ini­tia­tive, is thank­ful for Garner’s fa­vor­able di­ag­no­sis. She also calls on oth­ers to take the proper pre­cau­tions, not­ing that the Health Ini­tia­tive can help peo­ple to ac­cess, and to pay for screen­ings.

“Joan’s story is the best of what we’d hope for any­one hav­ing to face a can­cer di­ag­no­sis— to have it be dis­cov­ered early, to be fully in­sured with ac­cess to qual­ity med­i­cal treat­ment, and to be able to rely on a strong cir­cle of sup­port through­out the jour­ney,” she says. “She has spent her ca­reer, both in the non­profit and public sec­tors, ad­vo­cat­ing for that same level of sup­port and care for all of us, and I am glad she’s find­ing it around her now. It’s my hope that we can learn from her story, that an early di­ag­no­sis saves lives. Get screened now.”

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