My Story

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"And now begins our journey to remission..." -Laurie Carter Johnson

Mike and Laurie (Carter) Johnson, were Libertyville High School sweethearts. They met and started dating their freshman year and got married after college. A few years later they were overjoyed with the birth of their first son,Connor. Two and a half years later, Connor got a little brother named Kyle (a.k.a. "Godzilla"). Their little family of four was the picture of health and these two little boys became the joy of their lives!

In early November 2011, Connor mentioned having bad headaches so Laurie took him to the pediatrician who recommended going to the eye doctor. An MRI was immediately ordered because the eye doctor saw pressure behind Connor's eyes.... this is the day that will forever change their lives. On November 9, 2011, after discovering an 8 cm mass in Connor's brain, Connor and Laurie were transported by ambulance to Children's Memorial Hospital. On 11/11/11, Neurosurgeon, Dr. Tomita and his surgical team removed the mass from Connor's brain with absolutely no physical or mental impairment. He emerged from surgery as the same 4-year old Connor we know and love. That was the first of many miracles that will happen for Connor and the Johnson Family.

The days following surgery, as Connor recovered remarkably, Mike and Laurie were hit with unbearably, devastating news. Connor's brain mass was malignant and described as a very rare and aggressive form of brain cancer occurring in about 1% of all pediatric brain cancer patients. Mike and Laurie faced overwhelming decisions, with very little information available regarding treatment outcomes, and very little time... They ultimately decided that St. Jude's was the best place for Connor to receive treatment, so a few days after Thanksgiving, they packed up the car and drove to Memphis to face the most frightening challenge of their lives.

During radiation, Mike and Laurie took turns being at St. Jude's with Connor while the other stayed back home to work and care for their 21-month old son, Kyle. In Memphis, treatment protocol for Connor was 6 weeks of radiation treatments to the full brain and spine, followed by four rounds of high dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue. The physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that they are enduried was difficult but they were astounded by the outpouring of support from family, friends, strangers, and the community.


Laurie Johnson posted a new journal entry, "ALL CLEAR!!!!!".

ALL CLEAR!!!!  Thank you God!  We have a full day of follow up tests tomorrow and then we head home. Thank you for all of the prayers and support!!! Read more

Darcy Young signed Laurie's Guestbook.

I'm so glad I got the chance to meet you! God places people in our path for a reason and you made me feel so at ease yesterday! And again today. Thank you! Tell Connor we ... Read more

Lindsay LaVine signed Laurie's Guestbook.

Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers this week - a growth spurt, no hearing loss and an all clear! I think about you guys often and wish you a safe trip! Read more

Laurie Johnson posted a new journal entry, "It's been 3 months...".

Well another 3 months has flown by and Connor and I leavefor St. Jude on Wednesday April 23.  His MRI is on Thursday but our appointment with the oncologist isn’t until ... Read more

Gabriele Ertmann signed Laurie's Guestbook.

I think it's wonderful that you always have such a positive outlook. I keep you all in my prayers. Read more

Teresa Munch signed Laurie's Guestbook.

You continue to have such a great outlook. While many of us would be looking at this news as such a downer, you continue to be grateful that you have Connor and that these ... Read more

Laurie Johnson posted a new journal entry, "Updates and ST. Baldricks".

I guess after receiving the most important “ALL CLEAR” news (way back in January), the rest didn’t seem as significant but I promised an update.  The good news ... Read more

Kim Hall signed Laurie's Guestbook.

FANTASTIC NEWS!  We could not be happier for all of you. Our thoughts and prayers for continued good news and good health. Read more

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