Phyllis Johnson grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. She taught English in several states before retiring in June 2013. Parents of two adult children, Phyllis and her husband live in North Carolina. Since her diagnosis with Stage IIIB inflammatory breast cancer in 1998, she has worked as a volunteer with several cancer support groups to spread the word that breast cancer doesn't always start with a lump. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Always interested in learning more about breast cancer, she completed the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Project LEAD Workshop in November, 2014 and the Project LEAD Institute in July 2015.