About Joanie Shawhan

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 Coping with Cancer magazine, God Still Meets Needs 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 designing jewelry, knitting, and playing guitar.

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

  • Oldest of 7 children in a house with one bathroom.
  • Graduated from Bradley University 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.

 Favorite Things

  1. Color: Purple
  2. TV genre: crime dramas such as Bluebloods
  3. Movies: While You Were Sleeping, Apollo 13, Rudy, Ben Hur
  4. Musical: Les Miserables
  5. Beverage: tea: black, flavored, herbals, hot or cold
  6. Collectibles: Panda Bears
  7. Hobbies: knitting, reading, guitar, designing and crafting beaded and wire-wrapped jewelry
  8. Scripture: 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.”
  9. Authors: Elisabeth Elliot, Lynn Austin, Francine Rivers, T. Davis Bunn, Kate Morton
  10. Songs: “10,000 reasons” by Matt Redmond; “Always” by Kristian Stanfill; “Everlasting God” by Lincoln Brewster; “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin; “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe
  11. Actors/ actresses: Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery
  12. Vacation: Alaskan cruise–the beauty of mountains, glaciers and wildlife including whales, seals and dolphins