Young Teen Recognizes Swim Across America’s Impact Within His Home

Owen Johnson

Swim Across America – Charleston-Kiawah

Hometown: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

3 years supporting Swim Across America

Age: 13

Owen Johnson is just 13 years old, and he already recognizes the impact funds raised at a Swim Across America charity swim have on patients and families.

“My dad, Brad Johnson, was diagnosed with stage four head and neck cancer before I was born. He survived because of new medicines discovered by cancer researchers, like the ones funded by Swim Across America.”

In 2020, the then-11-year-old swimmer had the idea to give his dad an unforgettable Christmas present. Instead of exchanging gifts, Owen set up a GoFundMe in honor of his dad’s fight against cancer. Owen raised over $2,000 and since then, has raised another $4,000 through his participation in the Swim Across America – Charleston-Kiawah events.

“I know Swim Across America gives money directly to researchers. My dad was the Event Director for Swim Across America – Charleston-Kiawah for a few years, and Swim Across America gives grants to cancer researchers at Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston where we live.”

This year, Owen and Brad will swim together at the Swim Across America – Charleston-Kiawah event on June 10. They are also celebrating a remarkable milestone. Brad has been cancer-free for 20 years.

“To celebrate 20 years and all the things my dad has accomplished since beating cancer – Ironman events, marathons, Triathlon World Championships, having a family – we are teaming up to raise $20,000 for the 2023 Swim Across America – Charleston-Kiawah event.”

“I hope that by raising money for Swim Across America, donations will help researchers get the funding they need to help more people like my dad.”

Swim Across America has raised $100 million since its inception in 1987 to support cancer research and clinical trials across the U.S. Please contact Jeni Howard at for media inquiries.

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