Criss Angel–magician, illusionist, and musician–has reported that his son’s cancer has returned. Johnny Crisstopher is only five years old and has been battling leukemia since he was a baby.
Angel, 52, posted an Instagram video on Wednesday that let fans in on a very intimate family moment. In the video, Angel and girlfriend Shaunyl Benson sit beside their first son’s hospital bed while a counselor explains to Johnny Crisstopher that his cancer has come back.
When Johnny Crisstopher was only 21 months old, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells.
Although it’s a rare form of cancer, it occurs most commonly in children between two and five years old.
The goal of treatment for ALL is to induce a lasting remission (an absence of detectable cancer cells in the body). Treatment can include chemotherapy, steroids, radiation therapy, bone marrow/stem cell transplants, and growth factors.
Only nine weeks ago, Angel had posted a happier video of doctors removing his son’s port–a special IV line placed completely inside the body–after four years of having it.
The Instagram video posted on Wednesday shows a friendly counselor explaining leukemia to Johnny Crisstopher in simple, gentle terms meant for a child.
With colorful visual aids, she teaches the young boy the difference between the bad leukemia cells and the good, healthy cells. She also tells him it’s okay to be angry that this “happened to you again.”
“Darn that leukemia cell. We need to beat that guy up and get it out of your body, huh?” the counselor says. Johnny Crisstopher then sweetly slaps the white leukemia cell, making his mom giggle as the counselor explains how the doctors will use “powerful medicine” to fight this disease.
Johnny Crisstopher inquires more about the leukemia cell, and the counselor explains that “he doesn’t do anything but get in the way of your healthy cells.”
“He’s a bad guy,” Angel tearfully says to his son. “We gotta kill him.”
The post continues with a few sweet family photos including Johnny Crisstopher’s 10-month-old brother, Xristos Yanni.
Angel calls upon all fans and audiences around the country to take part in his mission to Heal Every Life Possible (HELP).
The mission of Angel’s non-profit, also known as the Johnny Crisstopher Children’s Charitable Foundation, is to “raise awareness of pediatric cancer and provide funds for research, treatment, and–ultimately–a cure.