Staph Infection | 'Just Kids Being Kids'


BRUNSWICK ” Nick Johnson, diagnosed with leukemia at age 3, has been in remission for more than two years. For him, though, his ordeal seems like yesterday.

The 8-year-old from Elyria vividly remembers the staph infection that swelled his bottom lip, being diagnosed with cancer, the therapy he received at Rainbow Babies Children’s Hospital in Cleveland and the chemo treatments he still refers to as “medicine.”

Hearing Nick tell his story brought tears to his mom’s eyes Friday.

“Every time he tells that story … it’s just so cute the way he tells it, and it makes me cry,” Wendy Johnson said. “He went through the whole thing … the chemo, the steroids. He blew up from the treatments and lost all of his hair. He really went through it all. And now he’s been in remission for two years and couldn’t be better.”

Wendy said Nick spent about 1 months on the second floor at Rainbow Babies ” the “cancer floor.”



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While there, the then-toddler was cooped up in his hospital room. With his white blood cells dangerously low, making germs and diseases a high threat, he wasn’t allowed to leave, Wendy said.

“Rainbow Babies was amazing. He had a child life specialist who spent a lot of time with him ” paint therapy, music therapy and pet therapy,” Wendy said. “We were just treated so well.”

“They knew what it was like to be a kid with cancer and in a hospital,” said Nick’s dad, Jim.

“Being through something like what we’ve been through, and being involved in Rainbow Babies, you’re a member of a community, and today is a prime example of other things that we get the opportunity to be involved with,” Wendy said.

She said the Johnson family, which includes Nick’s 11-year-old brother, Eric, has been involved in the Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Kid’s Kicking Cancer program, and on Friday they were among about a dozen families at Mapleside Farms.

“How cool is this,” Wendy exclaimed.

Greg and Kelly Clement, owners of the 100-acre business since December, brought in children who are in remission or undergoing cancer treatments at Rainbow Babies and their families to act as a “focus group” for the attractions at Mapleside.

The children and their families “tested” out the Adventure Farm, which


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