FCCLA hosts Do It For Johnny Walk


FCCLA hosts Do It For Johnny Walk on Oct. 24 2017 to raise money to assist the Van Kemps for the battle that is ahead of them. Johnny (above) was most recently diagnosed with cancer again on April 14 2016.

April 14 2016. Tears wiping away smiles that had only recently returned. Shock. Fear. Sorrow. These are only a few of the emotions that fled the room the minute John and Sharon Van Kemp hear the words that they never wanted to hear: Johnny’s cancer has relapsed.

After enduring over three difficult years of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and only 10 months of living cancer free, 12 year old Johnny “Iron Man” Van Kemp’s cancer had returned, leaving the family with many new challenges ahead of them.

“I can’t believe that I got it again,” Johnny said, according to the child’s gofundme page.” I just want to survive.”

For the first time in their lives, Sharon and John Van Kemp were forced to push their comfort zone aside and rely on others for not only for the spread of awareness, love, and prayers, but also for help through this huge battle that they were set to overcome once more.

“The parents have a blog. They really pour their hearts out into everything they do. Whether it’s that’s what’s happening with Johnny, with them, with their feelings, or what they’ve been through, it just really touched me,” early childhood and parenting teacher Kara Winicki said.

As a former teacher of Johnny’s and a personal friend of the family as well as FCCLA’s coordinator at Northwest, Winicki felt that it was dire to be a part of the effort to help Johnny.

With this effort in mind, FCCLA is hosting the Do It For Johnny Walk on Tuesday Oct. 24 on Northwest’s track. Walking around the track with banners and signs in order to raise awareness for Johnny’s case and collect as much money as people are willing to donate, FCCLA attempts to assist the Van Kemps financially for the battle that is ahead of them.

“The family was able to come last year and talk with everyone. Johnny was there too so it was great to see,” Winicki said.

At the last Do It For Johnny Walk, FCCLA managed to raise around $900 which, according to Winicki, is good considering the club was not giving anything away.

Confiding in Winicki, the Van Kemps claimed that despite the “excellent medical benefits,” the expenses reached “tens of thousands” of out-of-pocket money. However, Sharon and John Van Kemp have both made it clear that they will do and spend whatever it takes to restore their son’s health.

“Just from other people that I’ve known that have gone through cancer treatments, even if you have good insurance, the expenses you still have to endure are enormous so that’s why we started [Do It For Johnny] last year,” Winicki said.

With 3.5 thousand shares on his gofundme page, news has since spread of Johnny’s relapse and many of those within the community have been doing what they can to alleviate the expenses and provide support for the Van Kemps.

All they ask for is prayers for their Johnny, their “little Iron Man.”