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Ana Johnson, RN at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Distance Project NYC

“It’s been pretty overwhelming and stressful at work. I am in the gastroenterology and hematology unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Every floor in the building specializes in a specific type of cancer. For now, I’m not working directly with COVID patients but we have about four to six floors exclusively for COVID patients. My floor is taking in cancer patients from all the other floors. It’s a very stressful environment even though I’m not taking care of COVID patients. There were a lot of positive cases between patients and nurses in my unit. I have not tested positive, thank goodness. We all have to wear personal protective equipment even though we’re not a COVID unit. My hospital has been amazing in protecting us with enough PPE, giving us support and implementing a lot of testing for COVID. All the nurses in my unit have to get swabbed every week and we’re also swabbing our patients every two days. When the coronavirus started, we all didn’t know much about it and so seeing my colleagues getting infected was so overwhelming. My biggest fear that I had – and I still have it – every time I go to work is to bring the virus to my apartment and my family, especially my mom. She’s my primary caregiver. She’s over 60 years old. It’s pretty scary but I’m taking all the necessary precautions just before I enter my apartment to see them. I love my hospital. I love my job and helping people with cancer in emotional and physical aspects. They’re very special to me. It is sad and feels like a different world when patients and their loved ones are suffering and struggling to survive. At the end of my shift, it makes me feel like a better person and I thank God for my life, my family and I just want to go home to hug my kids.”


Today is National Nurses Day and we’re super thankful to have amazing medical professionals working on the frontlines in hospitals combating the coronavirus pandemic. We’re fortunate to share a conversation with Ana Johnson, an oncology nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a runner with Distance Project NYC who has shown resiliency and heroism in these devastating times. Our chat touches on the state of work at the moment but also sheds some positivity from her upbringing in Mexico, starting running at a young age, a made-for-Hollywood love story, being a mom to two kids and qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

This is Runners of NYC. A podcast from CITIUS MAG. Hosts Leigh Anne Sharek and Chris Chavez look to bring you many of the untold stories behind luminaries and legends that make up New York City’s running culture. You can catch the latest episode of the podcast on iTunes so subscribe and leave a five-star review. We are also on Spotify!

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