Story Submitted by Shirley Johnson
Unless we are faced with some giants in our lives, people take life for granted and don’t spend enough time being thankful for being blessed, regardless of situations. We personally know that “Good things don’t just happen to good people and bad things don’t just happen to bad people.” In fact, “Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.” My family and I have not only seen things happen, but are witnesses to tragedies that have happened in our lives. As parents and grandparents, our hope has always been that our family and other families would live life with as few challenges as possible, but our plans were changed. Our son, Denzel, was diagnosed with cancer at 19 years of age, just on the verge of taking his place in society as a young man…an athlete, an artist, a thriving business entrepreneur and a technology wizard. Denzel had hopes of following his family’s tradition by joining the military forces. In September 2013, our family and our son would receive the traumatic news. Denzel would have to lose the cancerous leg in order to live. Thanks to friends, family and communities for their outreach, both prayerfully and financially, Denzel is on the road to recovery. Although Denzel’s challenges called for setting some new goals and objectives, he is determined to live life to the fullest. Our family began to recover, relying on faith and prayer to guide and strengthen us, but a new challenge would surface on the scene. As a mother loves her children, careful observation of our grandson, Maalik, by his mother Krystal Brinson, our daughter, affirmed that something was wrong when her child, Maalik, was not walking at 15 months old. Again, our family was faced with a new crisis, as Maalik was diagnosed with Hurler syndrome, a rare life threatening disorder. Eventually, Krystal and Maalik would make their way to Duke University Medical Center, where Maalik would receive, “the gift of life.” Thanks to a new mother’s decision to donate her baby’s umbilical cord blood to a public bank, the transplant has enabled Maalik to recover. Maalik is not only walking, but is running…living the life of a young toddler and his future looks bright. My family and I thank God for putting people like you in our path, making available your generous donations and prayers from everyone. None of these successes would have been possible, had it not been for you. We are humbled by your outreach and want you to know that you have truly made possible “the gift of life” to our family. Thank you.
Denzel is the son of Reverend Patrick Brinson and Mrs. Angela Johnson Brinson. Denzel’s maternal grandparents are Augusta and Eva Stevens. Denzel’s grandparents are Curtis Johnson Sr. and Shirley (Toppi) Johnson.
Maalik is the son of Krystal Brinson and Jamal Cobb. Maalik’s maternal grandparents are Reverend Patrick Brinson and Mrs. Angela Johnson Brinson. Maalik’s paternal grandparents are Mrs. Glen Cobb and the late Major Cobb. Maalik is the great-grandson of Curtis Johnson and Shirley (Toppi) Johnson and Augusta and Eva Stevens.