As you may or may not know, Clay Johnson is in a serious battle with cancer. Welcome to this CaringBridge website that we have set up for the friends and family of Clay Johnson to stay in touch with him and his wife Karen during this difficult time. This site is a way to allow family and friends of Clay and Karen to get updates in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Like so many of us, Clay and Karen Johnson were a normal couple, living in their comfortable home set in the woods outside of Wentworth, North Carolina. They have one child, Caleb, married to Breanna, and Caleb and Breanna have given to Clay and Karen, and the world, two of the sweetest grandchildren, Holly (4 years old) and Steven Clay (2 years old). Karen's and Clay's children and grandchildren are the center of their universe. They are rooted in family values. Their lives, holidays and vacations revolve around their family.
And the thing about Clay and Karen is that they add to that family by treating friends as just part of their extended family. My wife Laurie and I found that out soon after we moved here to North Carolina from Wisconsin when my wife took a job with Remington and became friends with Karen who also worked there. After sharing our first Thanksgiving in North Carolina with them in their home in 2012, we became part of that extended family and have been ever since. Clay and Karen became our North Carolina brother and sister. He and I have laughed many times about him being a Southern tobacco farmer of years past and me being a Yankee who had worked for state government in Wisconsin. He became my teacher in the ways of the South, with the first ever lesson being that outdoor grilling is a Yankee thing that is definitely not barbecue --- it's grilling --- and that barbecue is cooking low and slow with smoke. I love that guy.
Until a couple of years ago, Clay had been working for the United States Transportation Security Agency, until his doctor had to put him on disability because his rheumatoid arthritis made it very difficult for Clay to stand at his job every day. Clay continued to work around the house including babysitting for his grandchildren and helping out wherever needed.
A couple of weeks ago, Clay went to the doctor with leg and back pain, only to find that he has tumors along his spine, on his leg, in his liver, and on his forehead. The tumors are cancerous and require aggressive treatment. The doctors are giving him daily radiation therapy that is causing nausea and a lack of appetite. And the pain continues, drastically limiting his activity, but not his spirit.
At the time of writing this, Clay and Karen are waiting for the biopsy that will define the type of cancer Clay has, and I suspect further treatment that will be required to combat the cancer.
Please take advantage of this site to keep yourselves apprised of Clay's progress as he continues this greatest of battles. Use it to drop a hello to Clay and to provide any words of encouragement. Share pictures of your friendship with them in the Gallery here. Use this site to have fun with Clay, because as you know he loves a good story, a good joke, a good pun.
Karen and Clay ask for your prayers, and so do we. May God listen to all of us and do what is best for Karen, Clay and their family.
We all love them. They are among the best people we know.