In this special report Robin Mangarin tells the story as a reminder of just how precious each and every day is to all of us.
Nicolas Johnson of Rosedale began having pains in one of his legs. "After looking at the x-rays and blood work, wasn't quite sure what it could be, so the he admitted us into Memorial Hospital and did an MRI," said mother, Juli Johnson. "And at about 9:30 at night, he came in and told us it's a tumor."
The 8-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, which is a rare form of cancer that usually does not effect children of his age. Nicolas' parents had two choices to help their son. They could either aggressively treat the tumor, or amputate the leg below the knee. "After researching it and talking about it with people throughout the country that were contacted by the social workers at Cedars Sinai that have had to go through these similar circumstances, we've decided that amputation is probably going to be the best thing to do at this point," said dad, Wes Johnson.
As soon as students and faculty at Olive Drive Elementary School received word of Nicolas' cancer, the tiny school did as much as they could to help this boy out. It started with cards and letters collected by the girl scouts. A little kindergartner liked to make clay pots so he sold them around the neighborhood. When it was all over, gas cards and over $2,000 in cash were collected to try to help the financial and emotional toll the Johnson family endured.
"We wanted to," said Principal, Charlotte Blum. "It's a loving and caring staff community, and when someone's in need we want to pull together and that's the way human beings are. They rise to the occasion."With all of the love young Nicolas has received, he now feels like a star. He has focused on all of the great things that have happened to him since he was diagnosed with cancer. His classmates think he is the greatest.
"He's very funny, he's kindhearted and he's nice to everyone," said second-grade classmate. "I want him to get better and not have any cancer," said second-grade classmate. Nicolas' surgery will take place next week.
The Make A Wish Foundation sent Nicolas to Disney World. They wanted to make sure the final days before loosing his leg were happy ones. "Well, I'm going to Disney World," said Nicolas.
Nicolas departed for Disney World this past Tuesday to run around and enjoy the park with no worries. When he returns, he has a group of people at home who will make sure his difficult steps ahead will be easier. "You live in a community pretty much your whole life and you don't see very much of this until something like this takes place," said dad, Wes Johnson. "Then, you see a lot of it. It really has helped, it really has helped."
When little Nicolas returns from Disney World, a benefit golf tournament has been set up for today at the Sycamore Golf course in Arvin. The public is invited to attend. The cost is $50 a person and all of the proceeds will go towards helping Nicolas in his recovery. For more information, please contact Alex Alvarez at 831-8179.