There are little bits of cheer everywhere. Six-year-old Johnny Crisstopher Angel has captured the hearts of the SurvivorNet community as he battles leukemia, and now he’s assisting his father magician Criss Angel by performing tricks for his classmates.
Johnny’s dad shared a video on Instagram of he and Johnny Crisstopher, performing a magic show for Johnny’s classmates four weeks before his leukemia reappeared. In the post, Angel discussed his son’s battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which he was diagnosed with at the age of two, and stressed the importance of cherishing every moment with loved ones, because change can happen at any moment.
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My son, Johnny Crisstopher, asked me to perform for his classmates. Four weeks later he relapsed with leukemia and had to be removed from school. Watching this is very difficult for @shaunylbenson and I, but we thought it was more important than ever – during these very challenging times – to remember to appreciate the moment we are IN right NOW with all of those we love cause you NEVER know when life will change. #CrissAngel #Family #Love #Repost
Johnny Chrisstopher’s Leukemia Battle
Johnny was first diagnosed with the rare form of leukemia in December 2015. Despite a brief remission, Angel announced in December 2019 that his son’s leukemia had returned, and treatment was starting immediately. His son’s battle with cancer sparked Angel to raise money on behalf of pediatric cancer research and treatment by creating the Johnny Crisstopher Children’s Charitable Foundation. In September 2016, Angel held a tribute performance on behalf of his foundation, where 100% of the proceeds went to pediatric cancer research and care.
While childhood leukemia is rare, it is the most common cancer found in young children and teens. ALL, Johnny’s diagnosis, particularly affects children between the ages of two and five.
Johnny’s mother, Shaunyl Benson, has also spoken out about the importance of pediatric cancer research. In an Instagram post on March 1st, Benson wrote that she was “offended” that pediatric care was underfunded and that many people didn’t seem to care.View this post on Instagram
In a world where everyone is too busy worrying about themselves and everyone else is easily offended.. I’m going to pull of my unicorn fluff and call BULL right there. I’m offended. I’m offended that children are dying. I’m offended that childhood cancer is so underfunded. I’m offended that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies don’t give a crap. I’m offended that a lot of people don’t give a crap. Only cowards turn away and the world is full of them, so we’re used to it by now. While people sit back on their social media screens and turn away after hitting like and go on with their life, it doesn’t stop it from happening.. this is still happening. You’re turning away from reality.. a reality that could be yours one day too. EVERY 2 MINUTES A CHILD IS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER. These kids are on the front line battling, while the giants sit back and let them fight with the bare minimum. I’ve begged and cried on the phone to strangers that were just doing their job, about getting stupid authorization numbers or approvals for life saving chemotherapy medications and the simple pleasure of letting my son out of hospital. It makes me sick to the stomach when I think about all of the other thousands of babies, children and families going through the same thing. The relapse rates are ridiculous and it feels like more and more children are dying from cancers that have such good cure rates. It’s not good enough. *CONTINUED IN NEXT POST* #childhoodcancer #cancer #morethan4
Benson’s claims ring some truth. According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, only 4% of the billions of dollars going towards cancer research focuses on pediatric cancer treatment.
Angel and Benson are still keeping their son’s spirits high. On March 3rd, the couple took Chrisstopher to his very first KISS concert, and even got to meet frontman Paul Stanley.
Want to learn more on pediatric cancer and treatment? Check out SurvivorNet’s resources and stories.