A Magical Effort for Kids with Cancer
- Illusionist Criss Angel, 54, went through every parent’s worst nightmare when his son Jonny was diagnosed with Leukemia.
- Thankfully, the little boy is now in remission and his superstar dad is giving back in the most beautiful way: Angel is building an “escape camp” outside of Las Vegas for kids battling cancer, and talked about his passion for helping other families in a recent interview.
- When it comes to a child, the parent must become the advocate. Although symptoms of Leukemia are often initially tough to identify, make sure to get your child checked out if something seems amiss, and don’t stop for answers until you find out what’s wrong.
Illusionist Criss Angel, 54, was unfortunately one of those parents who had to watch his child suffer. Luckily, his brave son Johnny Crisstopher, 8, beat leukemia twice. Angel is now giving back to the child cancer community in the most beautiful way: He is building an “escape camp” outside of Las Vegas for kids battling cancer, and talked about it in a recent interview.Read More
The big-hearted Vegas Legend—whose new live show Amystika just premiered at Planet Hollywood hotel and casino—said that he has already broke ground for the kids camp an hour north of the city.
Speaking exclusively to the audience, Angel said “he is inspired by his own son’s battle against the odds to move into remission from his cancer,” and wants to push the limit in helping others in any way he can.
“They will be able to come out to Moapa Valley, stay there for three days and two nights and ride off road vehicles on a private track and be able to eat for free,” he said. “Everything is free. That is my mission.”
Angel, whose goal is to help 500 families in the first year of opening, added that his magic shows “are now merely a vehicle to leverage it to do that.”
Along with this new project, the generous star has already donated millions to charities and cancer organizations.
“I’m a 54-year-old man that has worked his a** off for 18 years to become an overnight success. Trust me, I’m not going to allow that success and that opportunity that I have to slip out of my fingertips and not do something for the greater good,” he reiterated in his powerful speech.
“My passion is my fuel. I want to use every moment of my life to create something memorable,” Angel said. “Life is but the memories you create for others to remember.”
Jonny was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015 at 20 months old. He had a brief remission, but unfortunately the cancer returned in December 2019. The family dreamed of a real life miracle, and they got it when he was once again deemed in remission in January.
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“When you have a kid with cancer, you realize how important that is,” Angel shared. “And I challenge anyone to try to do that, that doesn’t. I guarantee you that the feeling you get is priceless. You can’t buy it. It’s something that’s beautiful. Something that’s in you. It makes you feel good.”
Learning About Leukemia
Jonny Crisstopher’s specific diagnosis was B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is a type of cancer where the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes, or white blood cells.
Dr. Olalekan Oluwole, Hematologist, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, sat down with SurvivorNet to talk about ALL, how it affects the body and the type of treatments that work to fight it.
In general, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, but there’s so much more to know about disease. Dr. Olalekan Oluwole, a hematologist with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, recently sat down with SurvivorNet to talk about ALL, how it affects the body and the type of treatments that work to fight it.
“ALL is a type of cancer that is very aggressive,” Dr. Oluwole explained. “It grows very fast. Within a few weeks, a few months, the person will start to feel very sick. And that’s why we will have to give it an equally aggressive type of treatment to break that cycle.”
He says many times the leukemia is rested in the bone marrow, and because it is an abnormal growth, it just keeps dividing.
“It doesn’t follow rules, and it doesn’t stop,” he said. “Not only that, because this is part of the immune system, the immune system is sorta like the police of the body. So those abnormal cells that have now become cancer, they have the ability to go to many places. They go into the blood, and they often go into the tissue or the lining around the brain.”
“By the time somebody comes to us and they have ALL we already assume that it has gone everywhere in the body, and we have to treat them like that,” Dr. Oluwole said.
Symptoms of leukemia can vary depending on the type of leukemia. Common signs and symptoms of the disease include:
- Fever or chills
- Persistent fatigue, weakness
- Frequent or severe infections
- Losing weight without trying
- Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Recurrent nosebleeds
- Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
- Excessive sweating, especially at night
- Bone pain or tenderness
Here at SurvivorNet, we always encourage people to advocate for themselves when it comes to cancer and, more generally, health care. When it comes to a child, the parent must become the advocate. Although symptoms of Leukemia are often initially tough to identify, make sure to get your child checked out if something seems amiss, and don’t stop for answers until you find out what’s wrong.