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everyday athlete


Gibran Johnson Age: 35 Charity: Bear Necessities, www.bearnecessities.com


In 2009 Gibran Johnson was given the news that no parent ever wants to hear. After months of deal- ing with ear and neck pain and visits to specialists, Johnson’s 17-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, specifically Lymphoblastic Lymphoma.


At a time when most kids are enjoying their senior year of high school, picking out prom dresses and playing sports, Krislyn Johnson was enduring the toxic effects of Chemo therapy and battling seizures.


While receiving treatment at the University of Chicago, the Johnson family was introduced to an organization called Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, a group that provides hope and support as well as research dollars to fight pediatric cancer. Te organization offered Krislyn a “small wish” - an opportunity to have a normal day. With $500 from the group in-hand, Krislyn headed to the


20 JANUARY 2011 MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM


mall and went shopping, a treat that most people take for granted everyday, but something that made her feel special, feel good.


After seeing what a treat and what a difference a simple shopping trip made in his daughter’s life, Johnson made a decision to help other children in similar predicaments. “It was amazing how a simple day like that, which only cost $500, made Krislyn feel. I wanted to do my part and make sure other kids could receive something like that,” says Johnson.


His interest in helping the organization and his de- sire to better himself and push his limits intersected when he learned about an opportunity to race in the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon under the charity’s banner. “Race day was special to our whole family. It was one of the few days where we


were able to get away from everything and just enjoy the city and the event.” Johnson raised more than $2,000 dollars for Bear Necessities and finished the marathon, his first attempt at the distance, in a little over four hours.


Today, Krislyn is still battling with the effects of the disease and medication, but has moved onto the re- covery portion of her treatment. Her father, mean- while, plans to keep helping with the fight against pediatric cancer.


“My wife and I have always talked about getting more involved after Krislyn is healed. We’d like to do a lot more [with Bear Necessities] because everywhere you look you see breast cancer, pink, and that is a great cause, but when you see what kids have to go through when they get cancer, it’s unbelievable and no family should have to go through it alone.”


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