Remarkable Women of Denver: Joanna Van Gieson

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DENVER (KDVR) -- There are remarkable women all around us that sometimes go unnoticed. We asked our community to nominate remarkable women and we received hundreds of nominations. We have narrowed down the list to four and we are introducing to those four women.

Joanna Van Gieson has a heart for giving a voice to the voiceless. You might say when the going gets tough, Van Gieson gets tougher and her heart gets bigger.

Her 12 year old daughter Layla was adopted from China as a toddler. Van Gieson says, “she was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate so she's had numerous surgeries.”

But the life Van Gieson thought she would have as a new mom changed with her own health scare being diagnosed with edometrial cancer shortly after Layla was brought back to Colorado and became an American citizen.

She says, “We'd been home about a month when I was diagnosed and I started treatment immediately. I didn't want my daughter to lose another mom”.

A few years later, Van Gieson tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene, she had a double mastectomy and is now a strong advocate for genetic testing for the breast cancer gene.

Before surgery she had an 85 percent possibility of getting breast cancer. Now, that risk is five percent. She is thankful for her doctors and the second chance at life she was given.

From home to work, Van Gieson is the manager of respiratory care at Parker Adventist Hospital saying, “I've been there for 15 years and I hope to stay there another 15. It's a great place and I love what I do. I love the people I work with”.

She is passionate about caring for patients and her work.

Van Gieson’s layers of giving don’t stop with adoption and medicine, she helps run a foster based dog rescue called True Blue Pet Rescue. She loves helping animals and serves as the organizations secretary and is also on the board of directors.

Van Gieson is remarkable in many ways, always thinking of others and making a difference in all that she does for her community. Congratulations to Joanna Van Gieson, one of our Remarkable Women in Denver.

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