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Father and Nonprofit Founder Stephen Johnston Shares His Inspiring Journey on the Simple + Intentional Podcast

In a recent episode of the Simple + Intentional podcast, Stephen Johnston, a father, radiologist, nonprofit founder, and Ironman athlete, opened up about his remarkable story of resilience and purpose in the face of his son’s devastating diagnosis.

When Stephen learned that his 10-year-old son Luke was going blind due to a rare genetic condition called Bardet-Biedl syndrome, he was initially overwhelmed by grief and a sense of helplessness. However, he soon transformed his pain into a driving force for action, founding the nonprofit organization A Race Against Blindness.

During the podcast episode, Stephen candidly discussed his journey, from the initial diagnosis’s emotional turmoil to embracing the mistakes and lessons learned while building his nonprofit from the ground up. He emphasized the importance of allowing oneself to fully experience and process difficult emotions as a crucial step toward healing and finding purpose.

Stephen shared, “Feeling is a very important thing. It’s okay to feel that pain and embrace it and let that pain go through its process that it has to go through. It’s a healing process.” 

This approach ultimately led him to channel his energy into creating A Race Against Blindness, with the mission of funding sight-saving research for Luke and thousands of others affected by the same retinal disease.

Despite having no prior experience in the nonprofit world, Stephen’s passion propelled him forward, and he actively sought knowledge from others’ experiences to navigate the challenges and mistakes inherent in any new endeavor. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing self-care, seeking deliberate challenges to build mental toughness, and minimizing distractions to maintain productivity and focus.

In closing, Stephen encouraged listeners to find a cause that ignites their passion and get involved, emphasizing the immeasurable benefits of being part of something greater than oneself. “It will inspire and change you in ways you cannot imagine,” he said.

Hear the full episode of Simple + Intentional by visiting

About Stephen Johnston

Stephen Johnston, MD, MBA, is a father, radiologist, non-profit founder, and Ironman athlete. When he found out his nine-year-old son, Luke, was going blind as a result of a rare disease, he founded A Race Against Blindness to fund sight-saving research for his son and thousands of others like him.

Though Stephen is relatively new to the nonprofit world, he’s a man on a mission to raise $1 Million for a clinical trial and taking on challenges like Ironman to raise money and be an example for his son. So far, they’ve raised over six figures, been featured on and the Dan Karaty If I’m Being Honest podcast, and had TV spots in multiple major markets.

Stephen lives outside of Phoenix and spends his spare time training for his next Ironman and traveling with his family to create lifelong sighted memories for Luke. 




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