Johnston exits Chargers, seeks funds for Huntington’s disease

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As just about everybody probably knows by now, the Chargers will be moving to Los Angeles. Emotions run high on both sides of the move north — many have disowned the team that called San Diego home for 50+ years; others will continue to bleed Blue and Gold no matter where the team is located.

As just about everybody probably knows by now, the Chargers will be moving to Los Angeles. Emotions run high on both sides of the move north — many have disowned the team that called San Diego home for 50+ years; others will continue to bleed Blue and Gold no matter where the team is located.

But the Chargers’ move has affected some on a more personal level. Director of Public Relations Bill Johnston will be among those on the team’s staff who will not be making the move to Los Angeles where the team will play at the 27,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson its first season.

Johnston’s last day with the Chargers was Monday. His decision to remain behind was based on the health of his wife Ramona, who is receiving care locally for Huntington’s disease.

“Ramona is getting the best care in the best place for her, which means here with her is the best place for me,” he wrote in a farewell email to media members.

Johnston, a longtime East County resident, said he didn’t know what to expect when he joined the organization as an intern 38 years ago in 1979.

“I just knew I had been on sports teams my entire life and this made sense,” said. “Now, looking back, it has been a great ride.”

Will he miss it?  Of course, it goes beyond saying that he will.

“I’ll miss being around the team and celebrating after big wins,” he said. “But most of all, I’ll miss the people – both inside and outside the Chargers – who I’ve been blessed to meet through this crazy business.  

“It’s the people and their passion for the sport that make this business special.”

The Chargers will kick off their first season under new head coach Anthony Lynn, formerly an assistant head coach and running backs coach with the Buffalo Bills.

The team selected Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams as it top pick in the recent NFL Draft.

Johnston said that no matter where he ends up for the next 38 years in his career, he will continue to focus whatever free time he has to raise awareness in the fight against Huntington’s disease.  

Johnston and his daughter Hayley will be among those running to raising money toward finding a cure for the disabling disease at the upcoming San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on June 4. Donations can be made at Running to Cure HD.

Johnston began competing in the Running to Cure HD in 2001. Along with his daughter and other dedicated runners, they have gathered nearly $1 million in pledges and matching funds for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

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