Posted: April 17, 2017
For Immediate Release
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Linda Johnson and Cortney Carter of Greenville hike because of Taylor Johnson, 35, who fought glioblastoma, and now fights to raise funds for research for children.
Greenville, SC – On Christmas Eve of 2015, a doctor friend of Taylor Johnson’s family looked at her vision scans and knew something was wrong. Then, on January 21, 2016, with her mother and sister by her side, Taylor underwent a craniotomy at Duke Hospital to remove two small tumors in her brain. Her family was confident that they would be told the tumors were benign and the ordeal would be over. Instead, they received the devastating news that Taylor had an extremely aggressive type of brain cancer – grade 4 glioblastoma.
“We were told that this cancer is terminal, and the average life expectancy for a personal with this form of cancer is 15 months,” recalls Taylor’s sister, Cortney Carter.
For months, Taylor underwent daily radiation while working on regaining her strength. Her doctors encouraged her to walk as much as possible to stimulate blood flow through her brain, so she started walking short distances each day. Her mother, Linda, would walk with her twice a day. The left side of her body was affected by the surgery, so her foot dragged a bit, but she pushed on. Then she began monthly chemo and a clinical trial to boost her immune system, requiring very painful shots in her groin. Despite everything, she fought to resume a normal life by going to work, taking up archery, working out, and traveling.
Every month, Taylor has MRI scans to detect possible tumors. Her scans are clear, and her chance of survival has increased to 20%. “While this is still so very scary, we have hope,” said Taylor. Her hope, it turns out, is contagious.
Barely a year after her brain surgery, Taylor decided to join CureSearch for Children’s Cancer’s Ultimate Hike, a program that raises funds for children’s cancer research. Hikers trek 28.3 miles in one day and raise substantial funds to help find cures and less toxic treatments. After attending an information meeting at REI, she signed up and started spreading the word. Carter, Taylor’s mom, Taylor’s cousin, and a family friend are coming together from across the Southeast to complete the Hike together on April 29th.
“Taylor’s family is an incredible inspiration to all of us. Many families would circle the wagons and focus on their own challenges during a time like this, but under Taylor’s leadership, they are fighting back,” said Brecka Putnam, the event’s Manager. “Kids get glioblastoma, too. By participating in the Hike, Taylor’s family is not only showing their families that there are people willing to fight for cures for them, but also providing hope that their kids could beat brain cancer and go on to change the world.”
It’s going to be a long journey, but the Taylor’s family knows first-hand that it pales in comparison to a battle with cancer.
“I want to be hand-in-hand with my daughter on this walk as I have been on the walks that followed her operation,” said mom, Linda. “I have seen firsthand what a cancer diagnosis does to a family/parent. This 29-mile-hike and the time it takes is nothing compared to the time, pain and fight they have to endure. Thank you CureSearch for all you do and stand for.”
To learn more about Ultimate Hike, or to support Taylor’s Team, Hike Now Wine Later, visit http://www.curesearchevents.org/goto/HikeNowWineLater.
Ultimate Hike provides participants with awe-inspiring event weekends and the opportunity to help children with cancer. In its 7th year, it is the original endurance fundraiser on the Foothills Trail, and is the only national hiking fundraiser to fund research to end the number one disease killer of children.
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md, works to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame. CureSearch is building a $10 million research pipeline to aggressively drive pediatric research grants and clinical trials that have a higher chance of becoming cures for children’s cancer without the toxic side effects that plague current treatment options.