By Haley Miller
When their adult son was diagnosed with Stage 4 nonsmoking lung cancer, Timothy L. Johnston and Terry Johnston started thinking about how they could help other families who were facing a cancer diagnosis.
They founded F3+R, Inc., which stands for faith, family and fellowship plus research. So far, the Johnstons have raised $380,000 of their $450,000 fundraising goal to fund a clinical trial at Indiana University for patients with early stage forms of cancers who have not received precision medical therapies.
“To be right in the thick of a 38-year-old son who’s been diagnosed with a terrible cancer and to say, ‘We’re going do something,’ is just extraordinary,” said Amber Kleopfer Senseny, director of development at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. “And then what they have gone on to do is even more extraordinary.”
Timothy A. Johnston, who goes by Tim, was diagnosed in 2018, said he was connected to IU initially through his sister, Erica. Erica studied under Dr. Larry Einhorn at IU Health and recommended Tim work with him through the treatment process.
“If I had to go through this, (IU) was going to be my home,” Tim said. “It just felt better.”
Throughout Tim’s treatment, the family continued raising money for the clinical trial through the Timothy A. Johnston Fund for Precision Medicine at IU. The foundation’s fourth annual event will be conducted Sep. 26 and 27.
They will hold a reception, live auction and silent auction on Sep. 26, with a luncheon and golf outing at the Bridgewater Club in Westfield the following day.
Timothy L. Johnston said that many donors attend the event recognizing that the cause is not “one-an- done” in support of their son but an ongoing effort for many patients. The subjects in the trial will be early stage.
“The trial we’re going to get funded is not really for the Tims of the world, it’s for other folks,” Johnston said. “It could be transformational for many, many people.”
Terry Johnston, Tim’s mom, said they hope to reach their fundraising goal soon and celebrate the beginning of the trial.
In the future, the family said the goal of the foundation is to continue improving the lives of patients by emphasizing the importance of tailored research.
“The whole family is working on it, and I’m sure when all of our grandkids are at that age, they’re going be working on it too,” Terry said. “It’s a family affair.”
For more, visit the F3+R website, f3plusr.com.