About Joanie Shawhan

Joanie Knitting

Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy and is available for speaking engagements. Publishing credits include Multiple anthologies, Coping with Cancer magazine,and The Upper Room.

For three years, Joanie trained under many publishing industry professionals at the Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference and Write-to-Publish. She is a member of WordGirls and Friends of the Pen.

She speaks to medical students about ovarian cancer in the Survivors Teaching Students program sponsored by the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance. She is a member of her local ovarian cancer group, The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side Up. When not writing or attending her book clubs, Joanie enjoys reading, knitting, swimming, and crafting.

Why Joanie Started Writing

One night, Joanie’s life changed forever. She rolled over in bed and felt a mass in her abdomen—ovarian cancer. As a nurse with an oncology background, she felt she should have been equipped to handle a diagnosis of cancer, but she found herself with more questions than answers. Where could she go for more information, support, and camaraderie? She sought out other ovarian cancer survivors, but found no support groups, Facebook groups, or Gilda’s Clubs. Were there other survivors? Joanie chronicled her cancer journey hoping to help other women navigate cancer and its treatment. Later she realized other women had their own unique cancer stories waiting to be shared—everyday women with everyday lives interrupted by cancer. Since their experiences were different from hers, she wanted to include their stories to make In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer relatable to more women. Joanie hopes to come alongside others with the help she desired when she went through her treatment. 

Fun Facts About Joanie

Oldest of 7

children in a house with one bathroom

Bradley University Alum

with a BS in nursing and subsequent positions in dialysis, oncology, and critical care

The notorious family photographer

Always loved reading

and singing. As a child, spent hours with a book in hand or singing on the swing.

Craziest exploit?

Climbed a 1400-foot rock trail dubbed “The Cliffs of Insanity”—and survived!


Enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as attending concerts, plays, and musicals.

Cheesburger Soup

Joanie won an honorable mention for her cheeseburger soup in a soup recipe contest sponsored by Taste of Home.

Christmas Lights

I Love Christmas lights! After Christmas my lights morph into happy lights surrounded by valentines and shamrocks.

Joanie's Favorite Songs

Holy Forever” by Bethel Music

I Speak Jesus” by Charity Gayle

Hymn of Heaven” by Bethel Music

Ain’t No Grave” by Bethel Music

Gratitude” by Brandon Lake

Joanie's Favorite Things



TV Genre

Crime, dramas, and mysteries


Les Miserables


Panda Bears


knitting, reading, crafting, and swimming


John 8:31-32… “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”


Tea: black, flavored, herbals, hot or cold


Alaskan cruise–the beauty of mountains, glaciers and wildlife including whales, seals and dolphins

Joanie's Photo Gallery

I'm a Member of Word Girls 2024

Joanie is a WordGirl

Joanie has been a member of WordGirls since 2016. Kathy Carlton Willis started WordGirls to create learning, coaching, and community building opportunities for Christian women who write.