Beat 41: Lily Johnson’s Mission to Help Fund a Cure for Cancer



Lily Johnson (11) and her team Beat 41 are excited to start their fundraising campaign to help fund a the search for a cure for cancer.

Courtney Huitt, Photojournalist

Beat 41 will be hosting a fundraising dance concert on February 27th.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the “world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer” ( Their mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, along with improving the lives of patients and their families. Since 1949, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been at the “forefront of the fight to cure cancer” having invested more than $1.2 billion into research and pioneering many of today’s “most innovative approaches” related to cancer research. Out of the 39 most recent FDA approved treatments, 34 of them have been from LLS.


Each year The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hosts their Students of the Year Campaign, “an exciting leadership development and philanthropy program in which high school students participate in a fundraising competition to benefit LLS and the mission to cure blood cancers” (


This year YLHS’ own Lily Johnson (11) and her team, Beat 4, made up of YLHS students, have been nominated to participate in The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Students of the Year Campaign. Her team chose the name Beat 41 after learning that 41% of the United States’ population is diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Johnson states that she first became aware of LLS her sophomore year when her friend Bri Erbach (Former Student) took part in the campaign. After sharing her ambitions of starting her own non-profit, Erbach connected Johnson to Emily, their LLS campaign manager. “I soon fell in love with their mission” Johnson adds “after learning that the research funded by LLS is not only helping blood cancer, but many other diseases like lung cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.” This is especially meaningful to Johnson because her family has been impacted by breast cancer.


During her freshman year of high school, Johnson found out that Martha, a second mother to her, had passed away because her breast cancer had returned. “I hadn’t yet realized how much this loss would truly affect my life until I thought of her three beautiful children, ages 8, 10, and 12” Johnson comments. “That day they had lost their mother and knowing how much I still relied on my own mother as a 17-year-old, this thought about not being able to sing with her in the car and rant about my school day was unbearable.” These kids and their father Brett are often where Johnson finds strength when she is lacking; “I remember their grace and peace in their time is misery. I remember laughing with the kids as we played hide and seek after their mother’s funeral, Brett ensuring that it was okay even after he has just lost his soul mate.” They are Johnson’s inspiration to fight and the reason why she is so excited to be participating in the Students of the Year Campaign.


Johnson does not want any other family to endure a loss like that, this is why over the next seven weeks, Johnson and her team have set a goal to raise $50,000 for cancer research. To raise this money, her team is hosting three events that they hope people will attend in support.


On February 22, they are hosting a wine tasting event at which they will be serving free wine and food. There will also be a silent auction and a donation table.


February 27 is their Dance for a Cure dance show featuring performers like Hannahlei (winner of So You Think You Can Dance), Everleigh Rose, Bailey Sok (World of Dance) Quad Squad (World of Dance), The Crazy 8s (World of Dance), Cub Cakes (World of Dance), and more. This event, hosted by Sabrina Bryan (former Disney Channel Cheetah Girl and Dancing with the Stars contestant), will start at 6:30pm at the Placentia Yorba Linda Performing Arts Center at El Dorado High School. Admission is $40 and admission with a meet and greet is $50. Tickets are on sale now through the following link:


The third event is actually going to be held in Washington state the last weekend of March, which will also be a wine night.


Beat 41 only has seven weeks to reach their goal of raising $50,000. Aside from attending their fundraising events, you can donate to Johnson’s web-page:


As promoted by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society “beating cancer is in our blood”.