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Corey’s Christmas Wish

“There’s a spot,” said Dana, pointing to a car that was pulling out. Mrs. Johnson waited patiently for the other car to exit the space. As she started to turn her car into the parking spot, another car coming from the opposite direction, quickly pulled in first.

“I don’t believe it,” yelled Dana. “We were waiting. We should have gotten that space. She doesn’t even have handicapped plates on her car.”

“It’s okay,” said her brother Corey. “Calm down. There is another spot at the end of the row.”

“Are you sure, Corey?” asked his mother. “It’s raining pretty hard out there.”

“It’s just water, Mom,” replied Corey. “I won’t melt, unless I’m really a wicked witch and you never told me.” Mrs. Johnson and her son began laughing, but Dana was still fuming.

As soon as Mrs. Johnson turned off the ignition, Dana was out the door of the van and she began sprinting towards the store. “We’d better hurry and catch up with her,” said Corey, “before she does something stupid.” Corey didn’t run, but he began to walk as fast as he could.

As he had suspected, Corey found his sister confronting the driver of the SUV who had taken their parking spot, a woman in her late fifties or early sixties.

“You saw us waiting for that parking spot,” said Dana, “and it’s a handicapped spot. You don’t look handicapped. You look perfectly normal to me.”

The woman became somewhat indignant and responded, “You don’t look handicapped, either. “I just spent a lot of time and money at the hair salon, and I’m not going to let the rain ruin my hair. So, if you will excuse me, I have some shopping to do.”

“I’m not handicapped,” said Dana, “but my brother is.” Corey gave his sister an angry glare. He hated it when people called him handicapped, especially his twin sister.

“I’m so sorry, ma’am,” said Corey. “My sister has a bad temper at times. Just forget about it.” Corey then proceeded to hold the door open for the three women.

The older woman had watched Corey walk to the store, and noticed that he had an unusual limp. She asked Mrs. Johnson what was wrong with his her son’s legs and Mrs. Johnson explained that her son had two artificial legs below the knees. The woman was speechless and felt ashamed at how she had behaved. She hurried into the store as quickly as she could.

Mrs. Allen couldn’t get Corey’s face out of her mind, as she shopped. Twenty minutes later, it suddenly came to her. She knew why he looked familiar. She quickly began searching the aisles of the store trying to find the boy and his family. When she finally located them, she touched Corey’s shoulder and said, “Excuse me son,” she said. “I want to apologize for taking that parking space and making you walk that far I the rain.”

“It’s okay,” said Corey. “Don’t worry about it.”

“I also want to thank you,” said Mrs. Allen.

“For what?” asked Corey.

“For saving my granddaughter Cindy,” said Mrs. Allen. “She was one of the girls that you saved that day. I just moved here from the East coast to be closer to my family. I read all about it in the article that my daughter emailed to me. As Mrs. Allen hugged Corey, he could feel his face turning red. He hated the awkwardness, and he hated the attention, even now, three years after the accident.

Corey and Dana were nine at the time of the accident. They were walking through a new shopping center that was being built with three other girls from their class. Corey had stopped to tie his shoe, while the four girls kept walking. As he stood up, and began walking towards them, he saw the parking garage start to vibrate. As he looked up at it, he saw that it was beginning to collapse. Corey yelled at the girls to tell them to get away from the structure, but they couldn’t hear him over the sound of all of the construction noises. Corey ran towards them as quickly as he could and when he was close enough, he told them to run as fast as possible. As they ran, Corey was right behind them. At the last second, he pushed them clear of the structure just as the garage collapsed.

The girls fell to the ground clear of the garage, but Corey was not as lucky. As he pushed them out of the way, he fell and tons of concrete and steel fell on him pinning his legs to the ground. When all of the dust settled, Corey tried to move, but he couldn’t. He didn’t feel any pain in his legs. He couldn’t feel anything below his knees.

Over the next two hours, hundreds of workers tried to move the pile of concrete, but it would not be soon enough. There was a medical office building nearby and several doctors were working when the garage collapsed. When they heard the noise, they hurried over to the shopping mall to give medical care. As several of the doctors discussed Corey’s condition, they were unaware that Corey could hear everything that they were saying. One doctor said that if they didn’t get him freed soon, he would die.

That’s when Corey began to yell, “Don’t let me die,” he shouted. “If you have to cut off my legs, then do it, but don’t let me die.”

The doctors looked over at Mike and Karen Johnson who had arrived minutes earlier, and asked them what they wanted them to do. Karen looked into Corey’s pleading eyes. “Please, Mom,” he begged, let them take my legs to save my life. I have my whole life ahead of me. I’m not ready to die yet.” Karen told the doctors to do whatever they had to do to save her son’s life.

Both of Corey’s legs were amputated below the knees and Corey was rushed to the hospital. He was in surgery for several hours.

When Corey woke up, his family was by his bed, which included his parents, his twin sister, Dana, his older brother Luke and his older sister Lisa. At first, Corey thought it had been a bad dream, until he looked down at the sheets and saw that his legs were gone. When he saw the faces of his family, he knew that they were feeling sorry for him, especially Dana, and he was not about to let it continue. “Why is everybody so sad?” he asked. “I’m alive and that’s all that matters.” When he looked at Dana, she had to turn away before she started to cry. “Dana?” he asked. “What’s the matter? Why are you so upset?”

“Because you almost died trying to save me,” she said. “It’s my fault that you will never walk again.”

“First of all,” said Corey, “you were not responsible for that parking garage collapsing. Secondly, If I hadn’t pushed you and your friends out of the way, you would all be dead, and thirdly, I will walk again. It might take a while, but I promise you, I will walk again.”

As Dana hugged her brother, a doctor walked in to talk to Corey and his family about his injuries. He explained that Corey would have to remain in the hospital while his legs healed. He asked Corey if he had any questions.

Corey replied, “When can I get fitted for new legs?” The doctor explained he process of his legs healing, being fitted for artificial legs and months of rehab to teach him how to walk again. Before the doctor left the room, Corey asked him for a favor. “When they finish cleaning up the debris from the garage,” he asked, could you ask them to find my cross trainers?”

The doctor and Corey’s family just stared at him with surprised looks on their faces. “What?” asked Corey. “I just bought them with my own money, and I intend to wear them again someday.”

Dana began to laugh and said, “You are so goofy.” Then everybody began to laugh.

Later that day, Dana’s three friends; Cindy, Carla and Becky visited Corey, along with their parents, thanking him for saving their lives. Ever since that day, they have been very close friends.

Over the next year, Corey worked hard learning to walk again once he was fitted with his prosthetic legs. His classmates helped and encouraged him. He insisted on going to school, even though it meant attending in a wheel chair for a while.

At school and at home, Dana was always at Corey’s side, helping and encouraging him. She was glad that she could help him for a change, because even though she was older than him by ten minutes, he had always looked out for her. When they were younger, Corey always held Dana’s hand wherever they went, and he made her feel safe. In first grade, when some older kids began to pick on Dana, on the playground, Corey stood up to them, even though they were much bigger than him. As they grew up, Corey had always encouraged Dana, especially when she doubted her abilities, or lost confidence in herself. Corey always had her back, and now she returned the favor and had his back.

One year later, Corey was very proficient at walking with his new legs, and was even considering running a marathon. His parents sued the contractor who built the parking garage, after investigators proved that the company knowingly used substandard materials and violated numerous safety codes. They won the lawsuit, and the money that Corey received was set aside in a trust fund, to help pay for medical bills, and future sets of prosthetic legs throughout his lifetime. By the time Corey started the fifth grade, his classmates treated him like one of the guys and he was very popular. He was a B+ student and he was very active in his church.

At the beginning of the school year, Corey took an interest in charity work. He learned that there were a lot of children in the Los Angeles area who were living below the poverty level, who didn’t have enough food to eat, or enough clothes, many without warm coats for the winter, and many would get no toys for Christmas. After talking with his parents, and the pastor of his church, Corey was given permission to start collecting donations of money, toys, clothes and food. He got his school and his church involved and of course, Dana was right there with him.

Dana and Corey went door to door in their neighborhood, soliciting for donations, and they went to businesses in the neighborhoods as well. They collected tons of donations by December and they used the money that had been collected to buy more food, toys and clothing. The churches in the area collected names and addresses of families in need and on Christmas Eve, members of the congregation of Corey’s church began delivering baskets and boxes of food, toys and clothing to the homes in the neighborhoods surrounding the school and church.

The project became known as Corey’s Christmas Crusade, and Corey insisted that the gifts be dropped off anonymously in the evenings, so that they would be perceived as Christmas miracles, to the families. On Christmas day, Corey and Dana felt so good about helping others that they decided to do it every year.

The next summer, shortly after Corey and Dana turned eleven, Corey was faced with another challenge. He, Dana and some friends were hanging out at a local park, playing tag. Corey soon became tired and out of breath and had to sit down for a while. He thought nothing about it at the time, but he soon noticed that he was becoming tired easily, and sometimes found it hard to breathe after mild exertion.

One week later, Dana went into Corey’s room to wake him up so that he could get ready for church. Corey didn’t want to get up, saying he was very tired. When Dana’s hand brushed against his face, she noticed that it was very warm. She went to get her mother. It was decided that Corey could stay at home and get some rest while the rest of the family went to church.

The next morning, Corey still had a fever and was complaining of body aches. His mother took him to the pediatrician. The doctor told Mrs. Johnson that Corey probably had a touch of the flu. He told Mrs. Johnson to keep him in bed for a couple of days and to make sure he got plenty of fluids.

Later that night, Corey woke up with abdominal pain. His parents thought that it might be appendicitis, so they took him to the ER. After Corey had x-rays, and blood tests, a doctor told his parents that he wanted to admit him into the hospital for the night. When Mrs. Johnson insisted that he tell her what he suspected, he told them the bad news. It wasn’t appendicitis. All of the pests pointed to Leukemia.

The next day, further tests confirmed the diagnosis and Corey was referred to a pediatric oncologist, who told Mr. and Mrs. Johnson that they had caught it early. She talked to Corey and told him that they needed to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatments as soon as possible. She told Corey that the treatments would make him weak, nauseous and that his hair would begin to fall out. Corey looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Let’s get started. I’ve got a life to live, and no cancer cells are going to stop me.”

Corey lost all of his hair by the time school started, but it didn’t bother him. He could deal with the nausea and the weakness and being bald, but what he couldn’t deal with were the looks of pity he saw on everyone’s faces.

Corey decided to spend all of his free time working on his Christmas Crusade. He decided that if everyone was going to feel sorry for him, that he would use it to his advantage. He visited a different church every Sunday, and addressed the congregations. He told them about his crusade to collect food, clothing and toys for the children in need and asked them for their help. His plan worked. People saw a boy who had lost his legs and had cancer, who was trying to bring happiness to other kids at Christmas and they decided that if he could do it, then they could do even more.

By December, churches all over Los Angeles began collecting donations and delivering them to the needy families in the area on Christmas Eve. Corey and Dana asked their family if they could give up presents that year, and donate money towards the crusade instead. He also suggested that they exchange gifts that cost no money, such as homemade gifts. Their parents and siblings agreed to the plan. Corey and Dana thought that Christmas was even better than the previous year.

Over the next several months, chemo and radiation treatments were keeping Corey’s Leukemia from getting any worse, but at the same time, it was not making him any better. Corey was constantly reassuring his family, especially Dana that he would be successful in beating the disease. He told them that had to have faith that God would take care of everything, and not to give up hope.

By that summer, Corey realized that his family hardly ever laughed anymore. With all of his medical appointments and treatments, there wasn’t much time to do things together as a family. That July, Corey told his family that Christmas would have a different twist to it that year. Besides making gifts for each other, that cost nothing, all of the gifts had to be funny and make everyone laugh. The family would vote on the funniest gift. Corey told is family that they would have six months to work on their gifts.

That fall, Corey and Dana started the seventh grade. Dana suggested that Corey wear a hat to school so that nobody would notice that he had cancer. It was their first year in Junior High School and Dana was afraid that the other kids in school would make fun of her brother, or treat him differently. Corey refused to wear a hat. He had gotten used to people staring at him and he no longer felt self-conscious.

On the first day of school, an eighth grade boy pointed at Corey and said, “That boy looks like a cue ball,” and started laughing. Corey spoke up and said, “Actually I think I look more like a lightbulb, don’t you think?” and he began laughing as well. Corey had decided that it was easier to laugh with everybody and not take it personally. That was the last time anybody laughed at his appearance or pointed at him. He quickly became popular around school and he held his head up high.

That brings us back to the store parking lot, one week before Thanksgiving. Corey insisted on carrying the groceries to the car in the rain. When they got into the car, Corey turned to his sister and said, “You need to control your temper, Dana. You are going to run into people everywhere you go, that might make you angry, but try to let it go, please?”

“I’m sorry, Corey,” said Dana, “but it makes me really mad when able-bodied people take the handicapped parking spaces away from people who really need them.”

“That’s another thing,” said Corey. “I don’t like it when you tell other people that I’m handicapped. I have been challenged, but I will not give up because of those challenges. I am not handicapped, and it especially hurts when you say it.” Dana apologized to Corey and said that she would try to control her temper.

Corey’s next chemotherapy session was the day before Thanksgiving. He became more tired and nauseated than usual. That night and the next morning, he felt horrible. When his family suggested postponing Thanksgiving dinner, Corey insisted that they have the dinner as planned. Half way through dinner, Corey got very tired and he told his family to finish their dinner, while he went to take a nap. An hour later, Corey woke up when Dana told him to move over in the bed. After he moved over, Dana sat down beside him and put her arm around him. For the first time, Dana said her feelings aloud, “I don’t want you to die, Corey.”

“Then, I won’t die,” said Corey with a laugh.

“It’s not funny,” said Dana as she hit her brother on the arm. “I don’t want to lose you.”

Corey suddenly got very serious and said, “Get this through that thick head of yours, Dana, I don’t want to die either, and I don’t plan on dying. I believe that God has a plan for me, and is testing me. I will not give up this fight. I will fight everything that is thrown at me.” Then, Corey turned on the television and found the funniest movie he could and soon, he and Dana were laughing hysterically.

On Monday morning, Mrs. Johnson received a phone call from the oncologist. She told her that the last few lab results were not good. The chemo and radiation treatments were no longer working against the Leukemia. She told Mrs. Johnson that Corey’s only option left was a bone marrow transplant and that she was searching the bone marrow registries for a match.

That evening, while Corey was in his room, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had a meeting with their other children and told them what the doctor said. They suggested that they not celebrate Christmas like Corey had planned. Instead they suggested a low key celebration. Corey’s siblings agreed to the plan.

Corey had come downstairs and had heard their conversation. He walked into the room and said, “We are going to have the Christmas celebration that we planned in July, and that is final. All of you are acting like I’m going to die any day now. Well, fine then. If I’m going to die, then my last request is to celebrate Christmas in a house filled with laughter. Personally, I think you are all afraid that I will win the competition, because you know that my gifts will have you laughing so much that you will burst.”

Corey paused for a moment and then got very serious. “This is the last time that I am going to say this,” said Corey. “I have no intention of dying. I will not let cancer win. I know that God Has plans for me here on Earth and I’m not throwing in the towel. I have hope and faith. Why can’t all of you? Please, don’t give up on me.”

Everybody apologized to Corey and agreed to have the Christmas gift exchange as planned, and they all began thinking of ideas for their gifts. Corey had begun working on his gifts in October, and was just about finished.

In early December, Dana listened in on a call between the oncologist and her other. The doctor told Mrs. Johnson that after an exhaustive search of all bone marrow registries that no match was found for Corey. She told Karen to keep Corey from getting overly tired and suggested taking him out of school for the last few months that he had left.

After the phone call ended, Dana hung up the phone and went into her room and began to cry. When she was done crying, she became angry and left the house. She got on her bike and rode it to the church. Dana walked up to the altar and began to pray. She prayed hard to God, asking him for a miracle to save Corey’s life. After a while, she became angry again. “My brother believes that you have a plan for him,” she said. “He has faith in you. He is a great guy, one of the best, and he will grow up to be a great man. You can’t let him die.” Then, Dana began to cry again.

Dana was startled when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned around to see Pastor John. Over the next half hour, she told him all about Corey and how he always helped others and that the only thing he wanted for Christmas, was to be with his family, surrounded by laughter.

Pastor John told Dana to continue to pray, and in the meantime, think of the greatest gift that she could give to Corey, in case it was indeed his last Christmas. Dana told Pastor John that she was not giving up. She would think of a gift that would help her brother.

As Dana rode her bike towards home, she decided to use the internet to reach as many people as possible, asking them to pray for Corey. By the time she arrived home, another idea came to her and she hurried into her room and locked the door.

That night at dinner, Mrs. Johnson told Corey what the doctor told her. Karen suggested that Corey stop going to school, to save his strength. Corey began to argue and Dana offered an alternative. She said that she would ask the school if there was a way for Corey to attend classes from home via cameras and a laptop. Corey agreed to give it a try. Then, he pulled a sheet of paper out of his backpack. It was an essay that he had received an A+ on. The assignment was to describe the ideal career for him when he was an adult. In his essay, Corey wrote that he couldn’t decide between three careers, but that he had plenty of time to narrow it down to one career. He wrote that he wanted to be a pediatric oncologist to help kids with cancer, or a teacher, to teach kids, or a pastor, to spread God’s word.

Corey pointed to his teacher’s comments that she wrote on his paper, “Dream big and never give up on your dreams.”

“Apparently, all of you have given up on me, but I haven’t given up, and neither has God.”

Corey finished is classes from home, and he ended up with all A’s for the semester. From his bed, which had been moved into the living room, Corey directed the final details of his Christmas Crusade, which would reach more kids than ever before.

On Christmas Eve, Corey was very excited. He couldn’t wait until his family exchanged gifts. When the time came, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson gave their gift first. They had gone through several years of home movies, and through the magic of computer, they put together a very special presentation. The movie showed the children when they were younger, but they dubbed in voices from the kids in later years. It was hysterically, especially when a five year old Luke was explaining high school algebra to three year old Lisa.

Luke handed out his gifts next. When everybody opened their gifts, they found empty boxes. Luke explained that he had gone up into the mountains to collect some fresh air for each of them; but that they had let it all escape into the living room. Everybody laughed because his idea was so corny.

Lisa handed out her gifts next. She gave Luke and her parents, skin head wigs that the drama department at school was getting rid of. “Now we will all match Corey,” said Lisa. At first, nobody laughed, because they thought Corey wouldn’t thing it was funny. Everybody looked at Corey, who said, “Hey, no fair. Where’s my gift?”

Then, Lisa handed a large box to Corey. “Since you don’t like wearing hats to cover your bald head,” she said, “these hats are perfect for you.”

As Corey opened the box, he began laughing. The box was full of hats, but all of them had the tops removed and all that remained were the brims. Besides a baseball cap, there were several other hats, including a cowboy hat, and a football helmet, all with the top parts of the hats removed. Soon, everybody was laughing and Corey insisted that they take some family photos immediately. He wore his cowboy brim and everybody else wore their skin head wigs, and they took several photos.

Corey’s gifts were next. He explained that they had cost him nothing because they were all courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“You wasted your wishes on gifts for us?” asked Dana. “You could have asked to go to Disneyland; you know; the happiest place on Earth.”

“Dana, whenever I am with my family,” said Corey, “I am at the happiest place on Earth.”

Lisa opened her gift first. It was a DVD. She put it I the player and pushed play. There, on the big screen was Corey. All of a sudden, he began making sounds as if he was going to get sick. Then, he began throwing up continually, gallons and gallons all over the floor. Lisa, who always got queasy when Corey got sick from chemo, began to turn pale. Corey started laughing and explained that a movie studio helped him make the DVD using special effects and that he was not actually getting sick. Soon, everybody, including Lisa was roaring with laughter.

Luke opened his gift next. There were two framed photos. The first was of the LA Lakers basketball team and the photo was signed by all of the players. The second photo was of the LA Laker cheerleaders also signed by each of them.

“These are great gifts,” said Luke, “but they’re not funny.”

Corey handed Luke a magnifying glass and told him to look more closely. “Look at the center of each photo,” said Corey. When Luke looked at the photos again, he saw that Corey was in the center of each photo. Then, Corey put a DVD in the player, and his family watched as Corey got to meet all of the players up close and personal. It also showed Corey getting hugs and kisses from the cheerleaders. At one point, Corey faced the camera and said, “Eat your heart out, Luke,” and then began laughing hysterically. At first, Luke looked stunned; but then began laughing along with the rest of his family.

Corey handed his mother a photo album containing her Christmas present. Karen loved history, and was an expert in presidential trivia. As she started looking at the pages of the album, she began laughing. On each page was a photo of a president and his first lady. What made her laugh was that each picture was of Corey wearing wigs, mustaches, beards, make-up, etc. to look like the famous couples. Make-up artists and the costumes department, along with the props department in Hollywood, had helped Corey to recreate all of the presidents and first ladies and then photographed. They used computer programs to place the presidential photos and the first lady photos side by side into one photo.

Corey handed his father a similar photo album, but it contained photos of Corey made up to look like famous actors and actresses. As the albums were passed around the room, everybody was laughing hysterically, and having a good time. While they were looking at the albums, nobody noticed Corey sending a text on his phone.

Ten minutes later, there was a knock at their front door. Before anybody could get up to answer the door, Corey that it was time for her present and he told her to get the door. When she opened the door, Dana saw a man holding a Golden Labrador puppy with a big red bow tied loosely around her neck. Corey thanked the man for delivering the puppy and he wished him a Merry Christmas before he left.

At first, Dana was very excited about the puppy, but all of a sudden she became very upset. “I know what you’re doing, Corey,” she said. “You got the puppy to take your place when you’re gone. Well, I don’t want it.”

“Actually,” said Corey, “I was hoping that we could share her. I got the puppy for both of us. And anyway, just where do you think I am going?”

Dana apologized for assuming the worst, and took the puppy over to Corey. She began licking Corey’s face, (the puppy, not Dana). Corey suggested that they combine their names and name the puppy Dorey, which became her name, instantly.

Suddenly, Corey remembered that Dana hadn’t handed out her presents. “Okay Dana,” he said, “where’s my gift?”

“Okay, but don’t get mad at me for not following the rules,” said Dana. “I only got one gift, and it’s for you, Corey. And it’s not funny either. I started a Corey Johnson Facebook page, asking people to get tested at a bone marrow registry to find a match for you. The site has gone viral and as of yesterday, several hundreds of people have been tested. And though there hasn’t been a match for you yet, bone marrow registries around the nation have found matches for several other Leukemia patients. There are still thousands of people still waiting to be tested. And I’m sure that they will find a match for you, Corey.”

Corey took out his phone and soon found the Facebook page and saw all of the wonderful things that Dana said about him. He hugged his sister and thanked her, not just for what she did, but for having hope and faith that God Had a plan for him.

Everybody voted and it was decided that Corey’s gifts were the funniest. “It’s too bad that you wasted your ‘wish’ on Christmas,” said Dana.

“Actually, my wish was to fill the house with laughter again,” said Corey, “and I got my wish, in a big way.”

After a light dinner, Corey asked Luke if he would help him get dressed for the eleven p.m. Christmas service at church. Mrs. Johnson suggested that Corey had had enough excitement for the day, and that maybe they could have a quiet night at home, with just the family.

“You can stay home if you want to,” said Corey, “but I am going to church, even if I have to walk there by myself.” When he saw the worried look on his mother’s face, Corey added, “If the doctors are right, and I am going to die soon, then what better place to meet my maker than in church, celebrating the birth of God’s son. But, the doctors are not right. I am going to live, for a long, long time. Please, I beg all of you please have hope and have faith, in God and in me.”

Thirty minutes later, the Johnson family arrived at St. John’s Lutheran Church. It was already three quarters filled with people. As they walked down the aisle towards the front of the church, other members of the congregation stared at Corey. A few felt sorry for him, but the majority of them were filled with pride, knowing that he was a fighter and despite everything that had happened to him, he kept looking for ways to help others.

Before Corey took his seat, he walked over to the Nativity display at the front of the church. He wished the baby Jesus a happy birthday and then he walked to the altar and thanked God for everything he had given to him and his family. Then, he told God that if he chose to take him up to Heaven, that he was ready, but if not, then he was ready to serve God in any way that he could.

During the service, Corey sang all of the Christmas carols loud and with deep feeling. He felt God’s love flowing through him and he was ready for whatever was to come next.

Well, Corey’s faith never wavered, not one tiny bit. His body became frail and weak, but he never gave up hope. In mid-January, Corey’s oncologist told him that there were three people who were perfect matches to donate bone marrow to him. The bone marrow transplant was scheduled for the following week. The first transplant didn’t take, but on the second try, three months later, the transplant was successful. Five years later, just before his high school graduation, Corey was declared cancer-free.

The following fall, Corey began his first semester of college. He couldn’t decide on a career at first, because he was still interested in three fields of study; teaching, oncology and religion. After talking with his counselors, and his pastor, he realized that he could do all three. Fifteen years later, Dr. Corey Johnson worked during the week as a pediatric oncologist, and on weekends, he worked with troubled teens and taught Sunday school to middle school students. He married and had twin daughters which they named; Faith and Hope.

Dana became a Lutheran Pastor, because after seeing Corey’s faith cure him she wanted to help others find that same faith. She also volunteers at the cancer center where Corey works, bringing hope to children with cancer. She got married and had one child, a boy that they named Corey, after her brother, best friend and inspiration.

The Johnson family always celebrates Christmas together, which has become three generations and counting. The Christmas Crusade is still going strong and helps more people every year.

Corey continues to treat his patients with the medicine that helped cure him; laughter, faith and hope.

The End






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