Support for Luke Johnson has become a team effort.
The 6-year-old St. Anthony Grade School student has drawn community-wide support that has become known as Team Luke, and Saturday residents will gather for a 5K event to bring awareness to childhood cancer - an illness that has plagued the boy since he was 3.
Luke was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2010.
Although the family had support when Luke was first battling the cancer, the family kept his illness more quiet, having just gone through it for the first time.
“We were going through the motions,” said mom Jami.
After being in remission for two years, the cancer returned this past summer. It was then Luke started kindergarten and began drawing support as he became more involved socially.
“Someone told us ‘people want to support you - let ‘em,” she said. “This is their way to help.”
Support has poured in.
“Amazing doesn’t describe it. It’s overwhelming,” said Jami. “We’re blessed living in a community like this. It’s a scary thing we’re going through, and to have such wonderful community support, you think OK we can do this.”
Laura Link found herself involved with the family when her son and Luke became friends through school. Her older son also shares a class with Luke’s brother, Jacob, who is 8.
“It’s really affected our family,” she said. “It’s touched the boys in a way I’ve never known. I think it’s touched everybody in the community.”
Link and three others wanted to help and began planning for the 5K event Oct. 1.
Organizers have something special in store for kids. Not only will there be kid races, but appearances from Fred Bird and Santa Claus. The event also will feature a balloon artist and face painting at the grade school gym.
“We want it to be a fun event for kids,” she said, although adding the 5K will be professionally timed for serious runners.
Link said support for the event has been amazing.
“We originally started soliciting for sponsors, but once we put it on Facebook, it took off, and people called and offered to be sponsors,” she said.
The event now has 59 sponsors of businesses and individuals and more than 200 have preregistered.
Organizers hope proceeds from the event will help the family as Luke undergoes a bone marrow transplant on Jan. 8.
“We will have to live for 100 days in St. Louis once the transplant is complete,” said Jami. The adjustment will mean Jami and Luke will have to live apart from the rest of the family with the youngest, Lucy, 3, eventually joining her.
The transplant means an end to Luke’s chemotherapy treatments, and he looks forward to ringing a bell that ceremoniously signifies it.
“He’s amazing,” said Jami. “You can give him a shot, and he doesn’t even cry. He seems so much older than 6. He knows he has to do these things to get better. He gets it.
“If only I could have a fraction of his strength and determination,” she said. “He’s a blessing.”
For those wishing to attend the race, registration begins at 8 a.m., the kids’ race at 9 a.m., the 5K at 9:30 a.m. and a 1-mile run at 9:35 a.m. at St. Anthony Grade School.
Cathy Thoele can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support for Luke Johnson has become a team effort.
- Local News
Cross takes on red glow for Good Friday
The Cross at the Crossroads hosted a Good Friday prayer service at the Welcome Center.
- Investigator wants tougher ethics laws for legislators SPRINGFIELD (AP) -- Job recommendations and university application referrals from Illinois lawmakers should be tracked and publicized after clout-related scandals at the University of Illinois and the Metra transit agency, the General Assembly's top
- Medicaid paid $12M for dead Illinoisans CHICAGO (AP) -- The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo. The memo dated Friday, which The Associated Press o
Church goers carry cross for Good Friday
For Effingham resident Adrian Guzman, carrying a cross across Effingham is more than symbolism.
Two in hospital after chase with St. Elmo police
Two individuals were sent to the hospital after a chase with a St. Elmo Police officer.
- Sigel St. Michael breaks ground TONY HUFFMAN Daily News Want to Help? Donations are still being accepted for the addition. Donations may be mailed, dropped off at the parish offices, or placed in collection baskets. A donation wall in the renovated parish center will feature a "Giv
- Meth suspect sentenced to 54 months NEWTON -- A man accused of cooking methamphetamine in a vehicle with a child present was sentenced in Jasper County Court Thursday. Charles "Chase" L. Shroyer, 23, was sentenced to 54 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of methamphet
- Low ridership drives fee up TONY HUFFMAN Daily News Low ridership drives fee up
- Easements still sought for project After an approval for work on a 21-mile water transmission line between Teutopolis and Newton at a meeting earlier this month, progress continued to trickle in at Wednesday night's Teutopolis Village Board meeting. The Village Board heard from Connor
- 2 in court on meth charges Jackson Adams Daily News Two individuals arrested on methamphetamine charges in Shumway appeared in Effingham County Circuit Court Tuesday. Tara L. Devoe, 18, of Shumway and Nathaniel S. Sparks, 23, of Beecher City both appeared with counsel before a
- More Local News Headlines
- Cross takes on red glow for Good Friday