CLEVELAND – Christopher Johnson survived cancer. Now the Northeast Ohioan is on a mission to help others do the same.
What you need to know
- Christoher Johnson created “Cruise for Cancer” to give patients something positive and hope
- Johnson has been in remission for two years
- His wife is a three-time ovarian cancer survivor
Johnson uses his passion for cars to bring home a message of hope.
He upgraded his 1968 Ford Fairlane 500 and 2019 Mustang GT for a special drive.
“People give you thumbs up. They smile. They love it, ”he said.
Projecting positivity is important to Johnson after receiving some life-changing messages from doctors two years ago.
“‘You have leukemia, sir. You have to stay here (in the hospital) ‘”he recalled. “I said, ‘Are you staying here? What?’ ‘We have to give you chemo for 30 days.’ “
He spent weeks in the hospital getting an idea to inspire other patients.
“To let them know they haven’t been forgotten,” said Johnson.
When he was released, he decided to take a cruise against cancer, a parade of cars past the hospital.
“I want to do it for the patient,” said Johnson. “I don’t want these patients to sit in bed. I want these patients to sit in wheelchairs when they are tired. Sitting by the window looking outside. Smiling, laughing. “
This is his second year in remission and the second year he has organized the event.
He drove his Mustang to lead a range of vintage and sports cars, accompanied by a fire engine.
His wife Halima took care of the antique car.
“It helps to have something like this to keep their spirits up so they can keep battling the disease,” she said.
She is a three-time ovarian cancer survivor.
“I always get emotional because I saw him being diagnosed and I was diagnosed before and watched him go through the process and recover,” she said.
She called the car parade a “blessing”.
“I’ve told everyone I won’t leave the hospital unless my husband is with me and has recovered, so it’s an emotional day and I’m happy,” Halima said.
The wagon train drove from Richmond Heights to the Cleveland Clinic, where Bob Shelton caught up with the group in his 1968 Buick Skylark.
“Everyone has a point in their life when one of these cars rings,” he said. “Either they had one or the family had one.”
Shelton is now retired after working at the Cleveland Clinic for 36 years. He said he wanted to do his part to do something good for the patients.
“They’re trapped, so to speak, but they can look out of windows and benches to see some classic cars,” Shelton said.
The group of drivers turned their engines on in front of the patient windows to lighten the mood.
“I hope it changes lives and inspires people,” said Johnson. “And give them hope.”
Johnson plans to continue the Cruise for Cancer every August, and said any classic or sports car is welcome to take part in the parade.