About Chris Johnson “CJ”
He was just 39.
Prior to Chris’s diagnosis, he lived a remarkable life. He responded to many monikers, including Son, Dad, Brother, Family, and Friend. He grew up in Sugar Land, Texas. While in high school, Chris was a talented athlete and made a significant contribution in basketball, football and track, lettering in both football and track. He decided to focus on football and was awarded All-District Running Back in his junior and senior years in high school. He graduated from Clements High School in 1991. He attended Southwest Texas State University for one year where he was recruited to play football at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He played both tailback and fullback for the Lobos. Chris graduated from the University of New Mexico in May of 1997 with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree.
Chris held several different jobs after graduation, but found his niche while working for Shell Oil. While employed at Shell, he became an accomplished world traveler. He was always eager to learn as much as he could about the different cultures, ethnic foods, oil and gas, and the stock market. As a result of his travels and ever-inquisitive mind, he had a wealth of knowledge. He cherished his family and friends and was always the life of the party…he kept people laughing.
In June 2011, Chris became concerned with the consistent severe back pain and blood in his urine. He presented to the Emergency Room of a local hospital in Sugar Land, Texas for further diagnostic tests. The CT Scan revealed that he had a tumor within his right kidney that looked suspicious for cancer. Consequently, two weeks later, the affected kidney was removed. The results of the biopsy confirmed that Chris had a rare and aggressive kidney cancer called Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC). He approached this diagnosis with one thought in mind, “Fight with Faith”.
For 15 months, Chris kept a positive outlook on life and was determined to beat this beast called “CANCER”. Every day was so different for him, sometimes he was in severe pain and other times he would experience nausea and vomiting or had difficulty breathing. Regardless of the situation, he continued to press through the disease process of the cancer and the side effects of the chemotherapy. Although his health was declining, Chris stressed to his mother that he wanted to start a foundation that would focus on increasing RMC awareness, educate communities about sickle cell trait and raise funds for research at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Due to the rapid progression of his illness, Chris was not able to fulfill the dream of creating his foundation.
During the early morning of September 20, 2012, Chris took his last breath with his mother at his side…he was no longer in pain. The memories of Chris (his smile and laughter) will forever live in our hearts.
Chris continues to live through his legacy, “The Chris “CJ” Johnson Foundation Inc.” , which was founded by his mother, Ritchie Johnson in April 2013. His DREAM is now a REALITY.
Together we will emerge stronger and with renewed hope for a better future.