Ritchie Johnson is the president and founder of the Chris “CJ” Johnson Foundation and serves on the KCA’s Patient and Caregiver Advisory Council.
How long have you been working with the KCA and what motivated you to get involved?
I have been working with KCA for approximately six years. I was motivated to get involved because of my youngest son, Chris, who was diagnosed with a fatal kidney cancer known as Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC) in 2011. During his battle, I went to the KCA website searching for information about this rare and aggressive kidney cancer, but was unable to get any answers because there was not anything listed for RMC.
Because KCA is recognized and respected worldwide, working collaboratively with this organization would enable us to get necessary information out to the RMC community.
How do you hope to see the KCA grow?
I hope to see KCA listed as the #1 organization of choice for anyone diagnosed with kidney cancer or their family members who are in need of answers. This platform will provide essential resources for everyone diagnosed with kidney cancer regardless of the type. I envision the KCA collaborating with other kidney related organizations in regards to legislative issues, advocacy efforts, etc. to enable us to larger impact. “Together, we are unstoppable.”
What are you excited to bring to the organization?
Having a medical background as a registered nurse allows me to have a better understanding of the disease process. This knowledge allows me to educate patients and their families in a way that they understand and are able to comprehend the disease process. As a caregiver, I know how it feels to take care of a loved one that has been diagnosed with a catastrophic illness such as cancer. I have a vast amount of knowledge regarding RMC and I know how important it is to be an advocate for a cause. My flexibility, motivation, organizational and teamwork skills will be an added benefit to the KCA.
What is your favorite travel destination and why?
I wish that I could say that I have one particular travel destination to call my favorite, but I can’t. I love to take cruises to different ports. I find that being on a cruise allows me to disconnect from the world, no cell phones, no emails, etc. I find peace and tranquility being near the water.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy socializing and meeting new people. I spend my quiet time reading and listening to music. I also enjoy the outdoors and walking 3-4 times a week.