World-famous illusionist Criss Angel has confirmed that his 5-year-old son, Johnny Crisstopher, is facing cancer once again after an all-too-brief remission.
Johnny was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2015 when he was just 20 months old. According to the Daily Mail, the toddler endured 1,095 days of radiation treatment with his devoted parents, Angel and his partner Shaunyl Benson, by his side.
“He’s been in treatment for over 3 years,” Angel, 52, told TMZ as the family arrived at LAX on Dec. 3, 2019. “He’s been in remission, but unfortunately […] he had a relapse and he’s going back into the hospital.”
According to Today, it was a counselor who broke the news of the cancer’s return to Johnny himself. “It’s okay to feel [sad or angry]; I’m angry that this happened to you again,” the counselor explained, adding, “That is not fair.”
Angel’s partner, 28-year-old Australian singer Shaunyl, broke the news to her followers on social media. “This week we found out that our Johnny Crisstopher has relapsed,” she wrote. “His leukemia has come back.
“As parents we are absolutely gutted with the news. Our boy will have [to] endure more of what he’s already been through for the last 3 years […] and no child should ever have to suffer […]
“[W]e are so incredibly proud of him,” Shaunyl shared. “I know it in my heart that he will beat this again.”
Johnny’s parents, who also share 10-month-old son Xristos, decided to spend some leisure time in California before Johnny was readmitted to hospital; Disneyland and Universal Studios were at the top of their list.
After Johnny’s first cancer diagnosis as a toddler in 2016, Angel opened up to People about the devastating effect his son’s illness was having on his family, admitting he felt “helpless.”
“Johnny is a happy, fun, loving boy, but the steroid treatments have a profound effect on his mood,” Angel explained. “That’s hard to see, but that’s not our Johnny,” Angel continued, referring to the violent tantrums that his infant son was having to suffer through.
The magician continued with an emotional admission: “My son is supposed to outlive me. I’d rather it be me that was sick. I want Johnny’s future to be long and happy. That kid is just a bundle of love. He’s the truest form of magic.”
In light of his son’s second battle with leukemia, Angel wants to raise US$5 million in one night at the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood, the same venue that will play host to the magician’s “Mindfreak” show in 2020, for the victims and families of pediatric cancer.
The illusionist implored the public to help support the event when the time comes around. “We just want to thank everybody for their support over the years,” the magician told TMZ.
Reflecting on his role as a parent, Angel spoke of seeing his son through cancer a second time as “my mission in life.”
“I’m one of those families that I met before I became a father,” Angel told Today. “I want to put a light on this and be a voice for these children who suffer with life and death every moment of every day.”