Cancer survivor ridiculed by Walmart employees

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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A woman who just finished her last round of chemotherapy says she was laughed at in Walmart by store employees because of her appearance.

Johnna Moore Utzman is fighting breast cancer, but she's much more than just a "survivor." She's a loving mother to CJ, a beautiful wife to Steve, and a giving teacher at Pinecrest. But she may now be known as the woman who spoke up.

When Johnna was at Walmart in West Monroe with her family Friday evening, she went to the restroom.

"All of a sudden, these two employees come bursting in, 'Sir, you can't be in here! Sir, you can't be here.' They started laughing and they went out," says Johnna.

The incident didn't end there. The same employees came back in to the restroom to laugh some more.

"That was a woman? She looked like a man," Johnna remembers them saying.

Johnna is no stranger to people's reactions to her short hair or her figure after undergoing a double mastectomy last August.

"A kid, when they tell you something... they are pure at heart, they don't mean to hurt you, and you realize that," says Johnna, "but these were adults."

Johnna is sharing her story to warn others, and empower them to embrace their differences.

"I didn't ask to go through 8 chemo treatments that caused me to lose my hair," she says "I didn't ask for the insomnia or the fear, the fear that this God awful desease may one day return."

She's hoping Walmart and other businesses will begin some type of sensitivity training mandatory for all employees.

A Walmart corporate representative says the company apologizes for what happened to Utzman and says that type of behavior will not be tolerated. The employees involved have been suspended, pending an investigation.

Regardless of what happens in this incident, Johnna remains positive.

"What do you see when you look in the mirror?" asked KNOE's Jillian Corder.

"I see a blessed women, with a beautiful smile, who's endured a lot. When I see myself, I can wake up every morning, even when I have a bad day, it's still a good day, because God made it," says Utzman.