Imagine having the perfect life: a successful career, a wonderful spouse and a new baby, and you're young and healthy – except you have a cough. So your wife insists that you go to the doctor, who diagnoses you with Stage 4 lung cancer, which is next to impossible to believe because you're only 34 and don't smoke.
This is how the story of Cornelius resident Bo Johnson began, in May 2006. After his diagnosis, Johnson began research trials at the hospital at Duke University, began chemotherapy and researched his disease. Johnson found out that there were misconceptions about lung cancer – including that only smokers had this disease, and so lung cancer research was underfunded.
In September of the same year, Johnson and his wife, Christi, founded Addi's Cure, named after their baby daughter. The organization raises funds for lung cancer research and education. The money raised goes directly to research at Duke for lung cancer and “into an interest account that will be swept each year” and used for lung cancer research. The organization pays no administrative costs.
The next big event to benefit Addi's Cure will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21 at North Mecklenburg Park. The event is called Touch A Truck, and lots of vehicles will be on display for the kids, and their parents, to “climb in and check out up close.” Cost is a minimum donation of $3 per person.
Some of the vehicles scheduled include a police car, ambulances, a fire truck, garbage trucks, a battery-powered car, a flatbed truck, a Hummer and NASCAR cars.
Besides the vehicles, there will be displays, activities, food and a silent auction.
Project manager of the event, Tracy Greene, came up with the idea from a college friend whose son went to a similar event in Chicago. In 2007, Greene started Touch A Truck, and proceeds benefit Addi's Cure. Greene said that all money raised goes directly to lung cancer research; any administrative costs have been paid by the volunteers.
Bo Johnson's story is just beginning. He is currently in the hospital at Duke. After much research, Johnson and his doctors decided that a double lung transplant was needed. Earlier this year, he got a call that a match was found, and he and his family immediately drove up to Duke – only to find that the lungs were not really a match.
About two months ago, Johnson again received a call that lungs were available, the family drove to Duke, and Johnson underwent surgery. Unfortunately, Johnson's body did not react well to the lungs, and he had to have a second lung transplant. He's doing fine now.
A family friend said that when Johnson was first diagnosed, his goal was to see his daughter's first birthday. Now, it seems that his goal is to see his daughter's first day of kindergarten. The Johnson family's story has a long way to go.
For more information or to donate to Touch A Truck, go to www.lkntouchatruck.com or email Tracy Greene at TGreene@AvidRealty.com or call her at 704-578-2174.
For more information on Addi's Cure, go to www.addis cure.org.