NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kim Johnson appreciated the support she received and the opportunity to represent others whose lives have been affected by breast cancer Sunday at LP Field.
|Titans tight end |
Johnson, who is a cousin of Titans tight end Craig Stevens, was the honorary 12th Titan before Tennessee’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Johnson ran through the tunnel and Stevens greeted her at midfield. She hoisted the sword as fans at LP Field cheered in support.
Johnson said she was excited and honored to partake in the activities led by the Titans and the NFL to raise awareness for breast cancer, show support for patients and help others memorialize their loved ones. Johnson was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer this summer. She’s had a double mastectomy, and was scheduled to undergo her second round of chemotherapy Monday when she returned to Southern California.
“You see the people, and the support from the NFL and pink everywhere,” Johnson said. “As scary as it is, it’s not because people like the NFL and your family are going to stand there and the doctors are going to take care of you, so it makes it feel safe.”
Johnson spent some of Saturday receiving tips from Stevens about running onto the field. Stevens jokingly told her “don’t fall.”
Before the ceremony, Johnson said she would bounce back if she did.
“If you fall, you’ve got to give up. That’s what cancer is for,” Johnson said.
She didn’t fall, however, and continued the pride that Stevens and his family have in Johnson for the person she is and how strong she’s been in facing the challenge.
“We were really proud of her, and it was great for our family. I’m really glad that the Titans did that,” Stevens said. “She’s a great sport about this whole thing. She’s been really strong and fighting the whole thing. We’re just really happy and proud for her. She was nervous but she did great.”
Johnson found a lump when she was trying on bathing suits for a family trip to the lake this summer. She went to her doctor and quickly was put in touch with other doctors for a biopsy and mammogram. When she received the diagnosis, she had to decide on treatment options for what doctors said is a “pretty aggressive form of cancer” that hadn’t spread elsewhere. She said, because of the early discovery and treatment, the survivor rate is about 90 percent after she completes treatment.
Johnson said the experience of attending the Titans Breast Cancer Awareness game will be encouraging as she continues her treatment. The festivities included an on-field ceremony with other survivors that included crowd members raising special pink ribbon posters and the Titans’ new “Crucial Catch” campaign that raised $20,800 by selling signs to honor survivors and pay tribute to loved ones. All the money raised from that campaign will benefit the Saint Thomas “OUR MISSION IN MOTION” Mobile Mammography Unit, which provides access to mammography services for underserved populations in 17 counties in Middle Tennessee.
Additionally, players wore special pink equipment that will be auctioned to raise money for Susan G. Komen.
Johnson said it was particularly uplifting to see the survivors.
“I have people in my family that have had different kinds of cancer and made it through, so that’s encouraging and knowing the doctors are standing by your side,” Johnson said. “I’ve had a great team. The first thing they told me when I was diagnosed was you’re going to be fine. Just live, be happy, go to the lake if you can, so just having that support from my family and friends has been amazing.”