When Grace Johnston '19 decided last year to dedicate her time and talents towards fundraising efforts for Delaware’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), she did so for all the right reasons. She was not interested in accruing service hours to boost her college applications; she acted because she is deeply concerned about the lives of so many, including young people, who are affected by blood disorders.
Johnston is committed to using her time, talents, and energy to help fundraise for medical research that is desperately needed to help fight the disease.
Despite being very happy as a behind the scenes “worker bee,” this humble young woman was brought front and center when the LLS Delaware Chapter presented her with its 2018 Student of the Year Award.
On January 31, 2019 Johnston attended the LLS Awards Banquet, hosted at The Delaware Contemporary, where she was honored with not one, but three, special recognitions. In addition to being named Student of the Year, Johnston was recognized by the chapter because her team, Brave Bloods, raised an astounding $63,506.00 for blood cancer research, an all-time fundraising record in any category, thereby setting a high standard for all future Man, Woman, and Student of the Year campaigns. Johnston also received the LLS Touching Lives Award for her outstanding support of the LLS mission throughout the Delaware chapter’s 2018 Student of the Year Campaign.
In accepting these awards, Johnston had the opportunity to speak to the audience, where she poignantly and passionately vowed to continue her fight against childhood blood cancers. That evening Johnston was pleased and surprised to learn that, in addition to the beautiful crystal trophies, she had earned a college scholarship and the honor of naming an LLS research project—Grace Johnston and Team Brave Bloods—for pediatric and young adult blood cancer research.
In October 2018 Johnston was recognized by both the COO and CEO of the National LLS at a banquet held in Philadelphia. She shared that during the evening she was offered a job at the national level in fundraising upon her college graduation. Johnston said she had to decline because her sights are set on a career in the medical research aspect of the society’s work.
Locally, Wilmington’s DuPont Country Club hosted a Philanthropy Day in November 2018. Johnston once again had the opportunity to speak, impressing the audience with her poise, grace, and enthusiasm for her work with LLS. Johnston’s parents, Alice and Reed, are well-known for their own philanthropic endeavors and commitment to community service, clearly modeling these values for their daughter Grace.
Johnston maintains her association with LLS Delaware chapter, notably sharing her fundraising ideas and skill with their Man, Woman, and Student of the Year campaigns. She has nominated four students for this year’s consideration, including Sanford student Morgan Silvers. Johnston concluded by commenting: “After having been honored with the Student of the Year Award, I feel fortunate to be able to continue volunteering with the amazing group of people at the LLS Delaware Chapter office. This experience has shown me how to be determined in fighting for my passions, and that I can help make a positive change. I want to inspire others to do the same.”