‘It was always about awareness’: Campaign over, Johnson thanks Alphas for support

December 09, 2013

On Tuesday morning, Richard Johnson and his family stepped off a plane in Las Vegas. Throughout the week, they joined the three other finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in a swirl of events that included meeting NASCAR’s first lady, Betty Jane France.

In preparation for that meeting, Johnson and son Lucas donned matching tuxes. Watch them, with an intro from Lucas’ sister Grace, here.

It was all a prelude to Friday evening’s Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, when the award winner, Don Post, was announced at the Wynn Las Vegas, televised live on Fox Sports 2 and online at NASCAR.com.

Post, of Kansas City, MO, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, 37 years ago; he was told he had only three to five years to live. Post has organized volunteers for the March of Dimes “Bikers for Babies” annual motorcycle ride, the No. 1 charity ride in the nation, for 12 years.

Johnson lauded Post as an “incredible humanitarian.”

“We are honored to be here,” Johnson said. “We gave it our all, and win or lose the award, we won. It was always about creating awareness of the disorder Grace and Lucas were born with, Alpha-1. As their parents, Sarah and I wake up at nights worried about their futures.”

As a finalist, Johnson won $25,000 that will be donated to Alpha-1 research programs.

“I have asked only for votes for two months,” he said. Now, he said, he was asking anyone who is able will donate to Alpha-1 research. You can donate here.

“The fight [for a cure] will go on until it is done,” Johnson said.

Read the full story on the Alpha-1 Foundation website.