Crystal Family Connects with Vikings QB on Alopecia
Even with a few days to process, the Johnson family is still grappling with the remarkable experience they had last Saturday.
They shook hands and chatted with a rising star on the Minnesota Vikings at TCO Performance Center, the Vikings’ training facility.
“It was really surreal,” said Leslie Johnson. “To push the intercom on the gate and be like ‘hi, Keira Johnson and family are here,’ and they’re like, ‘we’re expecting you.’ And the giant gate opens and we’re the only car in the parking lot.”
The trip to the training facility lasted less than a day, but for the family, the journey started much earlier.
CCX News viewers may recognize the young Johnson twins — named Ava and Keira — from a story back in August. CCX met with the family as they were planning a first-of-its-kind event in the Twin Cities.
“You guys did at CCX did our story about our Walk for Alopecia,” said Johnson, Keira and Ava’s mother. “It started with CCX, really.”
Keira was diagnosed with alopecia about four years ago. Her family organized an event to raise awareness.
“Her body just thinks for some reason that her hair follicles are the bad guys and her immune system attacks her hair follicles, and then it causes her hair to fall out,” Johnson said.
It’s a story familiar to new Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs.
“We’ve been following him because he has alopecia and has been a big advocate for alopecia,” Johnson said.
Johnson Family Talks Alopecia With Josh Dobbs
So, the Vikings invited the Johnson family to visit the training facility last Saturday, before they left town to face the Denver Broncos.
The family got to meet a handful of Vikings players, including Dobbs. They talked with Dobbs about their shared alopecia experience.
“To be able to relate to what Keira’s going through with such physical differences was so helpful, and he was so sweet” Johnson said.
The group exchanged gifts. Keira brought Dobbs — who is also an aerospace engineer — drawings of the planets.
“Keira was wondering what his favorite planet was, and it’s Saturn, just like hers,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, the team gave Ava and Keira backpacks filled with hats, custom jerseys and footballs.
And while a football makes for a nice keepsake, Keira came back with something a little extra: inspiration.
“She’s like, I could be a cheerleader and a veterinarian,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to be limited.”