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Community rallies for cancer victim's family

POSTED: July 7, 2010 3:20 p.m.
Photo by Mike Riddle/

Terrance's brand new room was added onto his family's home by local builders and contractors.

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The community recently rallied around a Ludowici family in the throes crisis. Six months ago, Terrance and Shaneen Johnson and their three children, Terrance Jr., 11, Cameryn, 7, and Arieyanna, 6, were busy with school, work and extracurricular activities. In March, tragedy struck.
Terrance Jr., or Little Terrance as his family calls him, began to complain about headaches. The active fourth-grader became disoriented and experienced periods of dizziness.
 “I saw him having to hold himself up, leaning against the side of the hall as he was walking down the hall, and I knew something wasn’t right,” Terrance Johnson Sr. said.
Little Terrance’s mother Shaneen said, “He started having terrible headaches and was vomiting. He just wasn’t himself. He was so sick.”
After a repeated trips to the doctor and several rounds tests —including an MRI — the Johnsons received devastating news. On March 26, Little Terrance was diagnosed with stage-four glioblastoma, a likely terminal brain tumor.
Little Terrance was immediately scheduled for surgery. After the procedure, he began a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation treatments to attack the tumor.
Once happy and active, Terrance Jr. struggled to walk through his home and get out of bed. But, according to the child’s mother, she was determined to not let the disease stop her family.
 “The hardest part was watching him go from being able to do everything he did before to not being able to do those things,” Shaneen Johnson said. “It put a dent in ‘the Johnson five,’ but we were determined not to let it beat us.”
Terrance Jr. stayed in school as long as he could, but the procedures and treatment soon overwhelmed him, confining the fourth-grader to his home, where his mother cared for and monitored him.
According to Shaneen Johnson, what happened next is a little confusing, she said no one really has told her how it all happened, it just did.  But what she does know is that a group of Walker Middle School teachers got together and asked Little Terrance, if there was anything in the world he wanted or he could do, what would it be.
Most people would think if you asked an 11 year old boy, if he could have or do anything, he would say he wants a 4-wheeler, or a trip to Disney World, or something similar to that, but Terrance Jr. said, “I would like my own room, I never had my own room.”
From here, those teachers got with some local builders and contractors, and began a project to build a room on to the Johnson’s single-wide mobile home, so that he could have his own room, and in about three weeks, Little Terrance had a bedroom that any 4th grader would be proud to have.
Mike Allen, who was one of the individuals responsible for helping with the building project said, “This isn’t about any of us, or any of these people who have worked on this room, this is about Terrance, and about doing what God wants us to do; help each other.”
“Of all the things this little boy asked for, he asked for his own room; man I’ll tell you what, every time I come over here, I get blessed”, said Allen.
Allen said that the outpouring of support for the project has been incredible, and that donations have come in labor and in materials from all over the area, but this story doesn’t stop with young boy getting his own room, it gets even better.
According to his mother, Little Terrance, and the rest of the Johnson-5 are all fans of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).  This past Friday Allen got together with Smiley Elementary School Media Center Para-Pro, Gina Riddle to give the Johnson’s more good news.
According to Riddle, some local citizens of Long County became aware of Terrance Jr. being a big fan of the WWE.  After learning this, they contacted WWE Community Relations Manager, Sue Aitchison and on behalf of the WWE she donated, tickets, T-shirts, DVD’s, and other items for the family to attend the WWE Wrestling Card in Savannah, this past Monday (7/5).
“We didn’t do anything, but make a few phone calls … most of us are so blessed and take it for granted, seeing this family, and all they are going through, shows us, that the problems we think we have, aren’t really problems; it opens your eyes, and makes you realize what’s really important”, said Riddle.
Terrance Johnson Sr. said, “We sure do appreciate what everyone has done, I want to thank them so much, for helping our family.

 

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