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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Abby Johnson and Duke Head Coach Kerstin Kimel
Women's Lacrosse Welcomes Abby Johnson
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 04/03/2019
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DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke women’s lacrosse program is proud to welcome Abby Johnson as the newest member of the Blue Devil squad.

Johnson is an eight-year-old Raleigh native living cancer free after battling a rare and aggressive brain tumor at the age of five. She became connected with the Blue Devils recently through the Duke Cancer Institute and was recognized at halftime of Saturday’s “It Takes a Team – Duke WLAX for DCI” game at Koskinen Stadium.

“It was an awesome experience having Abby join us for our DCI game,” said Blue Devil junior attacker Catherine Cordrey. “Abby was a spark of energy and it inspired the team drafting her as an honorary captain on Saturday. We have been working very hard to make our partnership with DCI meaningful this year and getting the opportunity to bring Abby onto our team was such a gratifying experience. We are very excited to have Abby involved with our team moving forward.”

According to Duke Children’s, when Abby was just five years old, she began to develop headaches that became more frequent and intense over time. After several doctor’s visits and her first of many MRIs, it was discovered that Abby had a large mass in her brain – large enough that her family had to go home, pack a bag and head straight to the Emergency Department at Duke. 

The very next day, Abby had a five-hour brain surgery to remove the tumor. The tumor turned out to be rare, aggressive and cancerous. Abby began six weeks of radiation treatment every single day, followed by four weeks of inpatient IV chemo treatments. After these grueling several months, and many months of follow up scans, Abby was finally declared cancer free and has been in remission for two and a half years! She still has to take daily injections and pills to help manage some effects of her cancer and its treatment, but today Abby is a spunky eight-and-a-half-year-old who is brave, funny and happy!

The Duke women’s lacrosse program is in its second season of a collaboration with the Duke Cancer Institute. The Blue Devils are committed to furthering cancer research, care and support. To learn more about the team’s fundraising efforts or to donate to the cause, visit