Maytag & hhgregg Salute: Caroline Johnson

04 May, 2015

11_Johnson Family 2012Name:
Caroline Johnson

Louisville, KY

Why We’re Saluting Caroline:
After being diagnosed with ER + breast cancer in May of 2013, Caroline Johnson, a busy mother of three (including a son with multiple special needs) took it upon herself to start the Twisted Pink organization, which is dedicated to raising money for stage IV breast cancer research.

Tell us a little about your family life.
It’s very busy!  I am a mom to three children.  Samantha is 13 and plays field hockey.  I just got back from Saint Louis for a tournament with her.  Ella is going to be 12 in May and also plays field hockey and takes piano lessons.  My son Michael is 9 and he keeps us all very busy and entertained.  Michael has multiple special needs from being born with a missing part of his 5th chromosome.  He has epilepsy, which is controlled by the ketogenic diet and medication and he is non-verbal with Autism symptoms.  He loves to dance!  I also take him to speech therapy once a week.

Tell us the story behind Twisted Pink.  When and why did you start it?
I was diagnosed with ER+ breast cancer in May 2013.  After completing treatment, which consisted of chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries, I learned that not enough money was being directed to research.  In fact, in the US, 40,000 people die each year from stage IV breast cancer.  20-30% of early detected breast cancer will metastasize and there is no cure for this stage of the disease, yet only 2-3% of funding is directed to research stage IV breast cancer.  I started Twisted Pink in June 2014 to change these statistics.  We have already raised $100,000, which is going to fund an ER+ metastatic breast cancer research project at The James Graham Brown Cancer Center, at The University of Louisville.

What is your daily involvement with the organization?
I am the founder and currently operate as the Volunteer Executive Director of Twisted Pink.  We are a volunteer driven organization because we want as much funding to go to research as possible.

What is your favorite moment that came from working with Twisted Pink?
My favorite moment was getting up on stage at our first gala, The Twisted Pink Masquerade Ball, this past February and looking out into a sold out room of support towards our mission.  I know we are doing the right thing and that what we are doing is going to make a difference in many lives!

What is your organization’s ultimate goal?
The ultimate goal of Twisted Pink is to find a cure to Breast Cancer, which will be difficult because there are many different types of breast cancer and one person’s disease looks very different from another.  We will continue to focus our efforts on funding research that is specific to metastatic breast cancer, which will develop drugs to help improve life expectancy for those living with stage IV breast cancer, until there is a cure.

What does being a “hero” mean to you and how do you feel about being nominated?
I believe a “hero” is someone who searches for a need and engages other people to help meet that need.  I don’t believe that one person can be a hero without the help of many many people. A true hero is one who does not turn their back on those in need. Elaine Ballard nominated me for this award and it makes me feel very honored and appreciated to receive the nomination!  We have traveled a long distance in the awareness campaign and it is time to take awareness and turn it into a cure!  Twisted Pink is here to fuel this change!  We need the community to support our mission!    We must recognize and do something for the 40,000 people who will die of breast cancer every year in our country!

View our collection of Maytag & hhgregg Salutes heroes blog posts to learn more about all of our local heroes, and share stories of your own with #HHGhero and #entry on Twitter and Instagram. Your hero could win a Maytag brand appliance of their choice and a $100 gift card to hhgregg!

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