Thursday, December 17, 2009

Enduring Love....

This is a story written by a very close friend of ours. The story was written for Runners World Magazine which for some reason chose not to publish it... Monica did a great job on it.. Thanks Moon!

Enduring Love

It is early morning in Manassas, Virginia. The sky to the east is just showing the first colors of purple and red. Mickey Johnson, 47, makes his way to the end of the driveway, ready to set off on a morning run. Today holds 6 miles, part of his marathon training regimen. He reaches the bottom of the driveway and looks down a small hill. It’s the hill his 3 children would ascend on their trip home from the bus stop. Justin and Daniela, his two older kids, would be ahead, bickering, laughing, their packs bouncing on their backs with the rhythm of their stops. Cody would be behind them. He was quiet, and air of calm around this normally frenetic child. Mick would wonder if it was the work going up the hill, the weight of the pack, or just the fatigue from a full day of school. Mickey smells the air. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath trying to catch a familiar scent.

It’s August 13th, 2009 and 12 friends who have never met meet for time at a Forum Event. All of these runners post on the Masters Forum of the Runners World On-Line Discussion Boards. While they normally share daily workouts, training tips, and race results on line, this “FE” gives them the rare chance to gather and share a meal before a race. They all agree that the Masters Forum is a special place, that it fosters incredible friendship. They have a digital community of runners from different walks of life whose foundation for acquaintance are the common bricks of running, cemented by mortar of dedication and shared sacrifice. They tend to be over 40, but the Masters Forum attracts those younger than, those who are looking for the sweet, grounded advice of those who have been around the block or the track more than a few times. There is a sense not only of kinship, but that they have each others back: a DNF is met with words of encouragement, a PR is a group celebration. There are even non-running topics discussed and shared: a new job, a child’s graduation, a move to a new city.

The organizer of this group, Scott Reiss, lives in the events home state. The others have travelled from a confetti of locales - Indiana, Virginia, New York , Maryland,– and will run multiple legs and double digit miles in the ‘100 on 100 Heart of Vermont Relay’ that rolls through the Green mountains from the Trapp Family Lodge one hundred miles to Ludlow, VT.

The next day, race day, is forecasted to be warm and sunny. These newly minted friends eat, laugh, and share stories. They review details for the next day’s race, fret about the weather, terrain, clothing, and food. This is what runners do: they sweat the details as much as the miles. However - unlike other races - they are here not to chase a PR or win an age group. They are here to honor a child they have never met: Cody Johnson.

Cody Johnson was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma 3 days before his 2nd birthday. He was born on the first anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks and grew to be a feisty, spirit-filled toddler. Neuroblastoma is an “orphan” cancer: it occurs almost exclusively in children under the age of 10 and as such doesn’t benefit from research done on cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma that strike both adult and child populations. The average age of a child diagnosed with Lymphoma is 17 months, so young the child can’t articulate their pain. Like Cody’s case, 70% are not diagnosed until the disease has spread.

Cody was admitted to Georgetown Hospital for 10 days of baseline testing. His radiology scans lit up, the cancer present in every part of his body. A round of high-dose chemo was ordered and required Cody to be in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for 31 days where Mickey slept every night in a chair next to Cody’s bed. Cody suffered from the treatment: he vomited a pitcher full of blood from cancer-infected adenoids. He suffered fevers and side effects from the toxic chemicals. Surgery was required to remove the remains of lung and kidney tumors, as well as his adrenal gland and surrounding lymph nodes. The final step in his 4 month treatment – during which he rarely was home for more than 24 hours at a time – was a stem-cell transplant. The transplant had complications - Cody had a reaction to one of the transplant drugs. His lungs filled with blood and he suffered congestive heart failure and partial kidney failure. His oxygen intake dropped to 30%; doctors worked through the night to save him. A priest was called to the floor to be on stand by. His condition was minute-to- minute for 9 frightening days. Mickey and his wife, Diane, kept vigil over their fragile son, praying for a miracle, praying for their 2- year- old to endure and pull through. He survived those harrowing days and greeted the nurses treating him by throwing anything he could reach at them.

The 100 –on-100 was not the first time the RWOL masters had come together to support Cody. In April, Bill Allen – a member of the 2009 US World 24-Hour Run Team - put out a call to the Masters Forum and organized a team for the Virginia 24 hour Run for Cancer - 24 hour Ultra and Relay. Bill had been deeply moved by Cody’s struggle and wanted to support the Johnson family. He found the race and was committed to participating, despite it being a few short weeks before the World Championships in Italy. Ten ROWL Masters made the trek – from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia – to run for Cody. Bill made a flag that each would carry.

One participant, Shannon McGinn, 33, drove from Rahway, NJ to run in Virginia. Diagnosed at 29 with breast cancer, she survived and took up the sport of running. This race is special because she is raising money to fight the illness that has so personally touched her. In doing so, she abandons her bib for the 113th Boston Marathon to be contested the Monday after this relay. It was to be her first Boston, but it matters little to her: she understands all too clearly the fight for life against this disease; Boston can wait.

Nine of the ten participants complete 50 miles during the 24-hour relay and each carry the “Cody’s Crew” flag. During the dark hours on the trail, Mickey thinks often of the pain his young boy endured; these miles become spiritual for him, an act of contrition, perhaps, that parents feel for not being able to spare their children from certain pain. Cody’s Beach Bound Crew of Pirates raises $1200 for Neuroblastoma research.

Cody’s first treatment caused agony beyond imagination. While he’d learned to walk before the disease struck, he needed to re-learn the skill – twice – due to muscle atrophy caused by the cancer treatments. When Cody finished his treatments, Mickey looked at his own physical health and found it wanting. He took up running and put his sights on running the Richmond Marathon in November, 2006. Race day was unseasonably warm and as he struggled with cramps and fatigue over the last half of the course, he thought of his son – his image on his t-shirt and the words “Cody is My Reason” – and the pain he had endured. He thought of the treatments that would cause Cody’s lips to blister and peel, the mucositis that resulted in the degeneration of the lining of Cody’s mouth. Drinking milk from a bottle felt like drinking shards of glass. He thought of Cody’s first words, and how they related to the hospital, the drugs, his treatments. Mickey knew that his own fatigue and cramps were nothing, that the discomfort was temporary. He knew when his pain would end, that whatever agony he was feeling was but a small slice of what Cody had. Cody had survived his first brush with cancer; Mickey would finish this race.

Race day in Vermont dawns cool but the sun will quickly heat up the course. Each team member will carry the Cody’s Crew flag during the relay. Eric Cheung of New York City is the lead-off runner for Team 1 of Cody’s Crew. He’d met Mickey at a Masters FE at the 2007 Philadelphia Marathon, and found him to be as ebullient and warm as the man on the boards. Mickey believed with all his heart that Cody was cured, but his son’s battle for health was a constant, the disease has a frighteningly high rate of recurrence. Eric could feel this weight on Mickey. “When the 100-on-100 teams were recruiting runners, I felt a strong urge to do something, anything to help.”

Somehow, this 6-year-old boy has infected these runners with his toughness and determination. During each of the 3 legs of this hundred mile relay, they’ll think often of Cody, this boy they know but never met. They feel a common mission, a common a purpose. None can put a finger on it; perhaps it is that Mickey could have been any of them, that Cody could have been any of their sons. Tobey Hobbes of Purdue, Indiana would later reflect “The emotional energy and sense of purpose from these other 11 people was so contagious that you couldn’t help feeling like we were all one big family.”

When Karen Faber, 42, of Bowie Maryland, signed up, she knew nothing about Cody or Cody’s Crew. She stumbled upon a thread in the RWOL Masters Forum looking for a runner to fill in for a participant who had withdrawn. “At the time I knew very little about Cody or Mickey or neuroblastoma. But I liked to run and I wanted to see Vermont.” During her preparations for the race she frequented the Masters forum more often. “I started learning more about Cody… I read about the 24 hour relay in Hampton, and I found out that there was this big, compassionate group of runners out there…”

It is 2 days before Thanksgiving, 2007. Cody is cranky, his belly is hurting. He’s a typical 5- year- old: he’s started kindergarten, he loves his teachers, he tests the rules. He gets tired and cranky at the end of the day but he loves getting on that bus with his siblings Justin and Daniela. Mickey and Diane take him to the doctor thinking he has nothing more than a virus. But the beast is back, Cody has relapsed: Scans show an enormous tumor on his liver. One of the top Neuroblastoma surgeons at Memorial Sloan Kettering declares the tumor inoperable. Mick and Diane refuse to surrender. They find a surgeon at Georgetown University hospital who will perform an 85% liver resection. Before the surgery, Cody goes through additional rounds of chemo to shrink the tumor. Santa visits the children’s Oncology unit at Georgetown University hospital. Mickey is there and uncertain how Cody will react; he has been in a foul mood all morning. Cody is angry; his world has been upended yet again. He’s had to withdraw from his beloved kindergarten. He has to have the toxic chemicals with their nausea and hair loss infused in his veins. He wants to be home with his family. He submits to the treatment but has tantrums in between: he is incensed at this intrusion in his life. Cody sees the bearded man in red and hesitantly approaches him, then wraps his arms around him and hugs him for nearly half a minute. A Washington Post reporter is on hand to capture the moment.

Elizabeth Scott, 44, a native New Yorker, has been an active fundraiser for cancer research for years. “You start feeling powerless and that there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop the march of this beast.” She relishes the opportunity to raise money to combat the disease, and with good reason: it has claimed nearly the entire side of her father’s family: Her grandmother, uncle, and father all perished from colon cancer. Her sister has fought breast cancer. A cousin had lung cancer, another is fighting an aggressive brain tumor. “Running races for cancer research funding has given me a bit of peace, and a feeling of control over this disease.”

Rick Knuth from Fort Wayne, Indiana competes despite a nagging hip injury. A devout Catholic, he feels participating in the event is a spiritual call, to give something. “I have been blessed with three healthy daughters and just can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for Mickey and Diane during Cody’s illness. Nobody should have to go through that.” During the difficult parts of the day’s racing he falls back on traditional Catholic prayers, saying countless Hail Marys and Our Fathers.

Cody endures additional cycles of chemotherapy and radiation during that winter and spring. Cody never complains about going to the hospital, but he doesn’t always willingly submit to the treatments. He misses kindergarten, and is thrilled when he is able to attend his class’ Valentines Day party. He’s excited to be going back and when he arrives Cody had hugs for everyone: the secretaries, the school nurse, even the principal. He goes to his classroom and hugs both of his teachers. Back at the hospital, Cody is Jekyll and Hyde with the nurses, charming one minute, angry the next. Mickey worries at how Cody lashes out, at how angry his little boy can be. In hindsight he realizes Cody was fighting back the only way he knew how. He has such spirit – he enters a room and takes it over with his smile, his laugh, his devilish charm.

The day goes from cool to very warm with temperatures reaching the 90’s. The course is very hilly and there are stretches where there is no relief from the sun. The relay runners feel the fatigue and discomfort from the course and heat. They carry Cody’s flag and all think of him during the tough stretches. Elizabeth is suffering from nausea, as is Mickey. Despite his second leg of the relay being relatively flat, the lack of shade is crippling. “Although it was relatively flat the heat just sucked the life right out of me.” The thought of Cody and all he had gone through kept me from walking during this leg. After he finishes this part of the relay he finds an ice cold stream and jumps in. He thinks about Cody’s favorite place, the beach.

Over the summer, the Johnson’s take Cody on a trip to Ocean City, Maryland,. The beach is Cody’s favorite place and it is a wonderful chance to be together without the intrusion of hospitals and doctors. The trip is a respite for the marathon treatments to come. In September, the Johnson’s take Cody to Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in NYC to undergo 3F8 antibody treatments. These treatments are designed to attack any remaining cancer cells in Cody’s body and are the best protocol available to fight neuroblastoma. It is a painful process, each infusion causing more and more pain, and morphine rescues are often needed during the 20 minute treatments. Cody is in MSK for 2 weeks and passes his 6th birthday in the hospital. The doctors are hopeful: the results of the tests show Cody is tolerating the treatments well. He returns to MSK in October, and again in November to undergo additional cycles. It has been a year since his cancer has returned and they feel a corner has been turned, that Cody is getting better.

While the afternoon conditions are tough, Cody’s Crew is smiling: they are having so much fun. They joke about not making unscheduled stops at the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory that they will pass. They crew for each other, provide water for their runners on the course. Other runners question Cody’s Crew about the flag, and they are happy to spread the word, to share the mission. Later in the day, they are cheered along the course by other participants who have heard of their cause. They feel like running evangelists, spreading the gospel of Cody.

The Johnson’s hope is short-lived. It is December, 2008 and they are looking forward to spending the holidays together as a family. Just before Christmas, Mickey takes Cody to Georgetown University hospital for some tests. The whites of Cody’s eyes have developed some yellowing and the tests indicate increased bilirubin: something is going on with Cody’s liver. The doctors conclude that it is inflamed due to a virus, and work to get it stabilized. Just after Christmas, Cody begins to limp. He’d hurt his leg the last time he had been to New York City and this same leg is giving him trouble. Mickey and Diane pray it is related to the injury and the doctor thinks it may very well be. However, on December 30, 2008, a scan shows the presence of a bone lesion: the beast has returned.

The sun sets on the runners in Vermont. They have each started the third and final leg of the relay; they are closing in on the finish line. Teams 1 and 2 of Cody’s Crew run the third leg together. Their legs are sore and tired from the miles. Their feet hurt and the heat of the day has sapped much of their energy but the cooling air and the colors of dusk lift their spirits. They wear reflective vests, head lamps, reflective arm and leg bands. They see the faintly glowing figures of other runners. It is a spiritual, - almost holy - time for them.

Time. Runners seem to be centered on it, measuring miles and kilometers run in hours, minutes, seconds. Marathoners trying to qualify for Boston know all too well the how long one second can be the difference between standing on the starting line and sitting at home on Patriots day. But this evening in Vermont, the time it takes to run the course has ceased to have meaning. While these runners would normally want to speed through the miles as fast as possible – minimizing time - they instead savor it on this night. They remember how Cody loved his older brother Justin, and how his one wish was to be ten years old like him. That’s all Cody wanted, just a little more time. They have a new clarity of just how precious it is; Cody’s journey has given them that.

The presence of the cancer so soon after the 3F8 treatments is not good news. More lesions are found Cody is scheduled for chemo and radiation to try and knock it out fast. However, the chemo can’t be administered until his liver resumes normal functioning. The doctors wait as long as possible, and then have to settle on half doses of chemo to prevent further damaging his liver. They are balancing the delicate scales of time: they need time for his liver to heal, but every day they wait is a day the cancer grows. Cody starts treatment at the end of January and is home in time to watch his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers play in the Super Bowl. Photos of Cody show him smiling wide, excited. But one can’t help but notice his yellowed skin. It’s incongruous, to see the beautiful smile on this evidently ill child. His liver numbers continue to deteriorate and the doctors have to suspend the chemo.

Bill Barnes of Boston runs the final stretch of the relay with Mickey. They will carry the Cody’s Crew flags over the finish line. It is dark out and they chat amiably about the relay, their previous runs that day, how they felt. The air is so cool they can see their breath. They get very quiet. At that moment, Bill experiences his first ‘runners high’. “It was extremely dark and our senses of sound, scent, and touch took over from our sense of sight. We ran in silence except for the perfectly cadenced footsteps and breaths… We were, simply, two runners doing what we love to do.”

2 weeks later Cody’s stomach begins to hurt. When the Johnsons call the doctor, she tells them to come in the next day. This gives them pause: why wait, why not take him in now? She tells them gently that it is most likely the cancer, that it has spread. Scans reveal cancer covering 50% of Cody’s lungs. There are new spots on his liver in addition to the lesions on his leg; the progression of the disease is frighteningly fast. They cease all treatment. Mickey and Diane go into ‘Memory Making Overdrive’. They quickly plan a final trip to Florida, to get Cody back to his beloved beach. The trip is hard, Cody is ill and irritable. His skin is deeply yellow and people stare at him. He is quiet and tired during most of the time there; the cancer is wearing him down. They play miniature golf and he sits after each shot. He is only well enough to go to the beach one afternoon. They return home on March 1st and take Cody to Georgetown University Hospital for an evaluation. The cancer is rapidly advancing in his lungs and liver. Two weeks earlier Cody’s doctor had thought he might have 3 months left. She now says he has a week, perhaps two. His breathing is becoming more labored and he is in continual pain. They take Cody home with a morphine pump and oxygen. He is sleeping when Mickey and Diane have the hardest talk imaginable with Justin and Daniela: they have to tell them their little brother is dying.

Mickey would reflect on this time, this last leg of the relay. “There is nothing like running at night, along a lake, in the pitch dark with a friend and just listening to the sound of your shoes hitting the road.” He and Bill approach the finish line and see the cluster of the other ten members of Cody’s Crew waiting for them. “I can’t explain what I felt or what I remember at that moment. It was all just a blur. I remember all of the Cody’s Crew members hugging each other and the tears were flowing. It was all I had hoped it would be. I know my son was watching me and was very proud of all of us. I felt closer to Cody at that moment than I have since the day we lost him.” They crossed the finish line together, each of them holding their “Cody’s Crew” flag high.

Every runner at one time or another questions his or her reason for being out there, for running mile after mile without regard to weather, fatigue, discomfort. But what makes runners go out of their way to run for a child they’ve never met? It makes you wonder about the nature of friendship, particularly of these friendships. Are they friends because of the running, is the sport the cement that holds these people together? Or is it something more, that the running and the Masters forum were the springboard for all of this? They started out with a common denominator of running, but at the end it wasn’t about the running; it was about Cody, he was their reason.

Kerry Lambert, also of Vermont later reflects on the weekend. “Cody deserves more…he deserves a legacy, a positive legacy. If our run and this race can raise funds and awareness that get us even a smidgeon closer to helping another child with this horrid disease, then sign me up. Make me a shirt, give me the flag, point me toward the race. I’ll run because I can…and because Cody can’t.”

Karen Faber – who joined the relay so she could see Vermont – left knowing she had been there for something much more meaningful than a weekend sightseeing trip. “I get a little choked up when I think about the weekend… I realized that I wasn’t just there to run a few miles in Vermont, I was there for something much bigger. I was there for Cody. I was there for an amazing kid that even after his death is doing great things through his parents and his dad’s running.”

Despite his tremendous loss, Mickey is overwhelmed by the generosity of both spirit and body of these people. “Runners are not afraid to work very hard for something they believe in. Where many people would just write a check from their check book to help, our team members did that plus wrote checks with their sweat, tears and pain.” He is humbled by their gesture. He intends to continue his fight and while his intention was to raise funds for a cure for neuroblastoma, he also finds he has collected willing volunteers who spread his mission a step, a block, a mile at a time. They are, after all, runners.

Mickey loved the smell of Cody’s hair, loved the way it felt on his face when Cody would sit on his lap. He feels Cody with him, in his aching heart. He misses him so much. Mickey opens his eyes. He takes one last look down the hill; Justin and Daniela will be headed down to the bus later that morning. He turns and starts out on his morning run. Cody is his reason.

Cody Johnson died on March 6th, 2009. He was 6 years old.

Donations to find a cure Neuroblastoma may be made to

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good morning all!!!

Just wanted to write a few lines this morning. I've been thinking of Cody all morning and my heart is kinda heavy. We always miss him. His presence is all around our house. We try hard to keep reminders of him just the way they were when he was here. Some things have to change, there is no getting around it.
I had a dream of Cody last night. It wasn't long or anything that was out of the norm. It was just Cody, and I'll take it.... But this morning while sitting at the bottom of the driveway with Justin waiting for his bus I couldn't stop thinking of Cody. It wasn't the usual thoughts of missing him but it was guilt. For some reason I have this terrible feeling of guilt because of all that Cody had to go through. His whole short life was filled with pain and suffering. Up until his last breath he was fighting pain. It hurts my heart..
The coming days of Christmas are going to be very hard on our whole family, Diane especially.

Please pray for our family to get through this season...

For those of you who haven't heard yet, Shannon McGinn had a very successful 100 mile race. She led the race by 4 or 5 miles until around mile 80 when she started having stomach issues and dropped back. She told me that it was the thought of Cody and Cody's Crew that kept her going. She ended up finishing 2nd. We are very proud of her and thank God that she is representing Cody's Crew.

Thank you Shannon...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bid to make a difference..

"On December 12, Shannon McGinn (a 4 year cancer survivor) who happens to be a very good friend of ours will be racing her first 100 mile race, the Ancient Oaks 100 Mile Race for Cody's Crew Foundation. To support our efforts to fight nueroblastoma and to encourage Shannon to not give up when the struggle beings, please consider a making a small donation, i.e. $10.00 which is only $0.10 per mile. Thank you for your help with our fight! If online tracking becomes available, please return here to check this link ( on 12/12 to follow her progress."

Shannon running the NCR marathon this past Saturday.

Shannon has raced in many races with me. She also was on the Cody's Crew of Beach Bound Pirates who ran in Hampton VA this past May. She is a very strong and gifted runner who has battled cancer herself. She has made being the best runner she can be her mission. We are grateful to have her running for Cody's Crew. Please show your support and pledge on her behalf. Go to the Cody's Crew Events page to pledge.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I know, I know......

I am really slacking in the update department.... I do have one excuse though. When I returned from N.Y. at the beginning of the month I came home to a dead PC. Well I just received my new Dell a couple of days ago and I love it. It is so quiet that you can't even tell that is running. My old PC sounded like a jet taking off...

So what has been going on you ask. Well I did finish the New York Marathon on Nov. 1st. It was not the experience that I had hoped for. It turns out that I was just coming down with the flu and my performance suffered for it. I did finish though and I'm glad I did. The trip and race were pretty expensive so I felt that I had to run it. Running through all the boroughs of New York was quite an experience. There people cheering you on all 26.2 miles.. Seeing the ethnic and cultural differences of the neighborhoods as you run through the city was very special. On the down side there were so many runners that I don't remember a time that I was not running beside someone. My final time was 4:39:05. It was the first full marathon that I ran with the Cody's Crew flag and I did it with the flu. Another con of this race was that there were so many people running for causes that I felt as though nobody noticed the Cody's Crew flag.

Fast forward to yesterday the 28th of November. I ran my second marathon in less than a month. I have a theory that it's just easier to stay at this fitness level a run marathons more frequently than doing them twice a year and having to work back up to this level. Yesterday I ran the NCR marathon in Sparks MD. This race is on the other end of the marathon spectrum when it comes to the number of runners which was in the low hundreds. The race takes place on a Rails to Trails path that is flat as it gets. 13.1 miles out and back. The path is a packed gravel path that was very nice to run on. It was a very scenic race that took you through old farms, government woods and fields and over brooks and steams. Every couple miles we crossed roads in near homes and small towns. It was only at these points that we would see spectators. At every one people would cheer for "the flag guy" and Cody's Crew... This is why I carry the flag. As I passed each group of onlookers I would hold the flag a little higher and shout out "Go to Cody's Crew .org". A few times during the race runners asked me about the flag and gave me kudos for carrying the flag the whole race. When running a marathon even carrying a bottle of water is uncomfortable. It is taking time for me to get use to running with the flag but I sure I'll get there. So this race was a little different than New York. I was able to sleep in my own bed the night before and I had no flu symptoms. My fitness level was probably not ideal but I felt pretty good going into the race. I finished this race at 4:14:33 which was about 20 minutes faster than 4 weeks earlier. I think as I get more use to running with the flag my times will drop.

The Johnson's are getting ready for another first. We had our first Thanksgiving without Cody. It was not easy. We had spent the past 4 years at this time of year in the hospital with fevers, getting chemo or traveling to New York for those terrible treatments with our angel. Although not ideal we would gladly take it for the rest of our lives to have our Cody back. In less than a month we'll have another first. Christmas was a special time of year for us. The past few years we really knew how precious those memories would be. Cody like most kids loved Christmas. We miss our little pirate so much...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cody's Crew Cancun Vacation Contest

Cody's Crew Foundation is lucky enough to be the recipient of Cancun Vacation Donation. This is for the room but not for airfare. You will be responsible for your own airline tickets.
Here are the details.
Bids start immediately and must be received by midnight Thursday 12th of November. I will announce the winner on Friday the 13th.
Reservations are for:
Mayan Palace Riveria Maya (#6483 rci resort number) Kilometro 48 Carretera Federal Cancun-Playa del Carmen Dates: November 21-28, 2009 The unit is a two bedroom, two bath, partial kitchen, maximum occupancy is 8 people. Here is the website for the unit. Website:

All bids can be sent to
Good Luck….

Monday, October 19, 2009


for the lack of posts. I know that you all continue to care and pray for us. The past few weeks have been a blur. We are planning many things for the future of Cody's Crew. We definitely want to continue the 5K and Tot trot. What a huge success it was and we raised over $12,000.00. The yard sale was another great success. We are blessed with great people who work very hard for this cause. One of the ideas we are kicking around is having a 5 mile or 10K in the spring. This will be more runner oriented. We are talking about having it at one of the local parks so we will not have to run on the road. Another very big idea that is in the very early stages is a Relay Across America. This will be a massive undertaking and we will need some very good sponsorship. It will all hinge on sponsorship and if we can get a major network or the media to take notice. We are all about the attention. We must get the word about neuroblastoma out there.

On a family note. This past weekend was very exciting to say the least. We kept Justin home from school on Friday because he was showing signs of the flu. So, Diane's mother watched Justin at home. I received a call from Diane about 3p.m. and she told me that I need to get home ASAP. Apparently Justin had just finished taking a bath and when he was getting out of the tub he collapsed on the floor. When he fell he hit his head on the tile floor and cracked the back of his head open. We had to rush him to the ER where he had a CT scan and ended up with 6 staples in the back of his head. We were at the ER until 7:30. It reminded me just how much I hate hospitals. Diane said she wished she was still running to Georgetown everyday. For that matter so do I... We miss Cody..

My marathon training has been going pretty well. We are less than two weeks away from the New York Marathon. I will be taking the train up on Halloween and running the next day. Then I will be staying the night after before coming home on the 2nd of November. I'm also pretty sure that I am going to run a marathon in early December. I figure since I'm already trained up I might as well stay at that level of fitness and keep running marathons as long as the opportunities present themselves.

That's about it for now. We are very grateful that you all continue to check in on us. We continue to take life one day at a time. Some days are harder than others. Nobody said it would be easy. God bless you all.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another Angel...

It is with a heavy heart that I post today. Pierce Phillips has earned his wings today. Please drop by and pay your respects to his family..

September (Childhood Cancer Awareness Month) has come and gone with little notice. One week later the NFL players are wearing pink in honor of Breast Cancer. What is wrong with this picture? Somebody has got to take notice that our children are dying. Future presidents, lawyers, doctors, mommies and daddies... All gone before their time... Why? Doesn't anyone care?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5K was a great success!

We had over 250 people participate in the events this weekend. A great time was had by all. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9-11-02 was one of the best days of my life.....

Tomorrow is a day of national mourning. Tomorrow we will be celebrating the life of our baby.

On 9-11-02 the Lord gave us the best gift of all. Cody Darrin Johnson was born on this day. He had to endure pain that few humans have endured.

Cody would be 7 years old today. Happy Birthday big guy!

On 3-6-09 the beast stole our baby from us.

Please join us on our journey to eradicate the beast known as Neuroblastoma. Children are dying every day to this terrible disease. Go to Cody's and sign up for the Cody's Crew 5K. We are raising money for research and treatment of the beast. Go and sign up for our event.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Soon to be another angel....

If it is not painfully obvious to you by now that we need to find a cure for neuroblastoma then I don't know what it will take.

Meet Pierce. His journey will soon be coming to an end. His mother and father now have to face the most terrible situation that any parent can face. Please drop in and give his family a few words of support....

Also drop by Cody's Crew and make a donation.. We must stop this terrible disease...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Time to write again...

This is one of those days, one of those days that is full of emotions. I came home a little after 5 p.m. and was surprised to see Diane's car already in the driveway. I usually get home before her so it kinda caught me off guard. When I walked through the door I asked her why she was home already. She told me she had a bad day. She had been thinking of Cody since last night. She watched a video of Cody and Justin playing video games. The video was recorded a month before Cody passed. She said that a few times he let out one of his deep laughs. The kinda laugh that is contagious and makes others laugh. She longs for his voice, his smile and his smell. Although it's been over six months it is still very hard.

Now you might think that this all had something to do with Owen's passing today. It did not. She didn't know that Owen passed until I told her this evening. Our hearts really to out to Owen's family. Even though you know this day is coming, there is no way to prepare for something like this. As difficult as it is going to be I will be heading to Fredricksburg for Owen's viewing on Sunday. This is just something that needs to be done until a cure is found.

Diane and I are staying very active with the foundation. We have a great group of people who are helping us get things moving. We are hoping for a very successful event. We know with time and hard work this foundation will become a great success. The success of this foundation will only be measured by advances in neuroblastoma research. Diane has written a wonderful letter to Mrs. Obama in hopes that she could possibly come to our event. We know the odds are not good that such a thing will happen but you have to try right? With this being a down day, Diane needed reassurance that we are going to do well. I want her to understand that it takes time for an organization such as this to get rolling. The more times people hear of neuroblastoma and hear of Cody's Crew Foundation the more we will succeed. We will succeed when one day a doctor or scientist discovers that magic treatment that brings neuroblastoma to an end.

The Vermont 100 Mile Relay was a huge success. There is even a few Cody's Crew photos on their site. It was so much fun and great to have a chance to meet many people whom I have known on the Internet for years but hadn't met in person. We are already planning next year. It is wonderful that so many people want to help. Runners can help by running. Speaking of running, I will be running again this weekend at the Annapolis 10 Miler. I will be carrying the Cody's Crew Flag. Then Labor Day weekend I will be carrying the flag at the Virginia Beach 1/2 Marathon. In October the flag will fly at the Army 10 Miler and then again in New York City during the New York Marathon November 1st. This is one of the best ways I can get the word out.

If any of you out there know somebody that is in the public spotlight that wants to do something good then please point them in our direction. We need all the help we can get. Children like Cody and Owen need all the help they can get...

Another angel...

Owen is now playing with Cody... Drop in and give his family a few words of comfort...

Monday, August 10, 2009

5 Days to go!!!!!

On Friday me and 11 of my close Runners World friends will be flying into Vermont to participate in the Vermont 100 on 100 Relay. This is a big event for Cody's Crew and I get more excited every minute. Of the 11 other people I have only met 2 of them. Our members are traveling from all over the country to participate in this event. They are spending their own money for travel, lodging and food. For that I am very grateful. These events are wonderful. Most of these people I have known for years but have never met in person. I will be sure to take plenty of pictures and post them here. If you have the desire you can contribute to our team by going to the Cody's Crew website and click the donate button. Just add a line in the note section stating that your donation is for the race... Any amount is appreciated.

God Bless,

We love and miss you Cody!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Good Morning All!!!

I just wanted to make a quick post this morning before I have to go to class. I found out last night that we are soon going to lose another beautiful child to the beast. Owen Lea, who lives in Maryland and was on the first return flight back from New York that we took with Cody. He has battled the beast for 6 years and his family is about to go through HELL. As Diane says, "we would gladly take the daily trips to Georgetown and the sleepless nights if we could still have our boy."

Please pray for Owen and his family. Here is his website.

We love and miss you Cody!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hello out there!!!!

I thought that I would update what is happening in our lives.

Well, both Justin and Daniela were at camp all week. Daniela came home today and Justin returns tomorrow. Daniela was at a camp down in Leonardtown MD. Justin was on the Chesapeake Bay north of Baltimore.

Diane's brother and his family are visiting from Japan. They will be here for 3 weeks. We are all sitting in the family room watching a movie.

It's hard to believe but school will be starting again in a month. This spring started out great. We were getting rain every other day and the grass was green. Now, we are watching our beautiful grass turn brown and we pray for rain everyday.

I have been running more and more and I'm into my 3rd week of my 18 week marathon training period. I have a very busy racing schedule coming up. It all kicks off in 3 weeks up in Vermont. I will be running the Vermont 100 Mile Relay with 11 of my close running friends. The total of 12 runners make up 2 Cody's Crew teams that are going to run. I'm really looking forward to it. Two weeks after that I'm running in the Annapolis 10 miler. This a pretty hilly race but it is nice because it finishes at the Navy Football stadium in Annapolis. Labor Day weekend I head to Virginia Beach for the Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon. I've done this race twice before and it is one of my favorites. After I head to D.C. for the Army 10 miler. This is a race I've done many times. I really don't like it as much as Annapolis but I will be with good friends and that makes it all worth it... Then comes the big one. November 1st is the New York Marathon.. This is a race that is on my top 10 to-run list. Enough about that...

Now for the big announcement. September 26th is the First Annual Cody's Crew 5K, Miler and Tot Trot. Go to our website and click on the tab for the 5K, Mile and Tot Trot. I have all the forms that you may need. If you want to be a sponsor, participant or volunteer. We are planning a special day. Please drop by and check it out...

Everyday that passes is a little less painful but it doesn't make us miss Cody any less. I picked the picture that is now on this blog as the silhouette for the race shirt. It is perfect.

Thank you for stopping by. I will definitely try to do a better job of posting. It is very hard to write things that I think you will all want to read or care about.

God Bless!

Monday, July 6, 2009

We are still here....

Just thought that I would drop a few lines on you all. We had a pretty busy 4th. I rented a log splitter so I could try and get that tree split up and stacked. Thank God for Chris and his friend Kenin. They came by on Friday and helped me split all the logs. That was a huge job even with 3 people. We have enough wood to last us 5 years or more.

Saturday we all took a trip up to Shenandoah River to do a little canoeing. Well, we thought it was going to be a little canoeing but it turned out to be over 6 1/2 hour canoe trip. You have no idea how sore our arms are.

We are working out the final details of our inaugural Cody's Crew 5K run and Tot Trot. I will be posting the information here and on the website. You will be able to register for the race online very soon. We are very excited about this event and we think it is going to be a huge success.

Thank all of you for you continued support and prayers for my family. As hard as it is we must keep going. We miss our son and brother everyday. This is a year of firsts and Saturday was the first 4th of July without Cody. He was missed more than you could know.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A week to enjoy or endure?

I'm not sure if you noticed a change in writing style but the "water bottle" post was Diane's. I was very happy that she wanted to post it. Although she is still hurting very much she is showing signs of improvement.

We took the kids down to Camp Carefree in North Carolina over the weekend. We will go pick them up this weekend. The house is very quite now. We can just vegetate when we get home from work and not have to run around or deal with the constant bickering. But if there is one thing we have learned over the past three months it's that you should take it all in. You should drink every last drop of their childhood years. As we have learned, they can be snatched from you at anytime. Before you know it they are grown and gone. As we were standing in line to sign the kids in I heard the parents in front of us and behind us saying "I can't wait to drop you guys off." They were talking to their kids of course. We have all said such things many times but it made me think, do we really mean what we say? I think it just came across the wrong way. I think "we need a little break sounds better."

We left early Saturday to drop the kids off Sunday. The kids like staying at hotels so we thought that it would be nice. Saturday afternoon we stopped in Mt. Airy N.C. to do something different. We took the kids and went zip-lining. It was great. We thought that Justin would be a little apprehensive but he did very well. Daniela on the other hand was the one who wasn't quite sure about the task at hand. Despite her hesitation she took the plunge and after the second ride she was arguing with Justin to go first... It was a great time...

Cody's Crew Foundation fund raising is in full swing now. We have had a "Texas Hold'em Poker Night" here in Northern Virginia. We did very well for our first event. There is a community Bingo Night on the docket for the coming weeks. We also have plans for a Cody's Crew Yard sale. This is something that we have put some thought into. You do not have to live in Virginia to participate. We will be recruiting Crew members to host Cody's Crew Yard Sales all over the county. We have not determined the date yet but if you are interested in participating please email me at

Our first big event is the 1st Annual Cody's Crew 5K run/walk and Tot Trot this fall. It's scheduled for September 26th at Osbourn Park High School in Manassas. I will be setting a page up on our website for sign up and more information. This is first big event and we would love to have a great turn out.

We are still kicken and trying to keep moving. Cody still remains our strength and our motivation. His loss has rocked our world but it has also given us a goal. We don't want to see anyone go through what we have gone through.

"Fighting the Bad Bug"
Cody Johnson

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The water bottle.....

A bottle of water sits atop my dresser. It is the water bottle that Cody so desperately tried to sip just hours before his death. He was confusing the oxygen mask being held in front of him with the straw that had been placed in the bottle. The lack of oxygen had left him disoriented. Being the strong fighter that he was he struggled to sit up with all his might and take a drink. The mask had left his lips chapped and his mouth dry. His little body was trying to quench his thirst. Even is his dire condition his sheer will gave him strength.

Each night before bed I look at the water bottle. It has been evaporating little by little each day. It breaks my heart to see it go as I want nothing more than for it to remain just as it was, to forever hold onto it. The evaporation is creating an empty space, a space that will never be full again.

A family, a life, a heart, and a water bottle......

We so miss our baby.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A quick note....

I'm getting ready to go our for my long run this morning. But I know many of you have been checking in to see pictures from the Balloon Release yesterday. I did upload this small video and will give you a chance to watch it until I post the pictures.

Cody's Memorial Balloon Release

Here is another very nice video.

Cody's Memorial Balloon Release

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's new at Cody's Crew?

We have a number of new changes and events at our Cody's Crew website.

If you go to our Upcoming Events page you will see that we have a Cody Johnson Memorial Ceremony scheduled for June 6th. It will be held at Bennett Elementary School in Manassas VA. There will be a balloon release at 11:00 am. You can purchase a balloon at 10:30 am at the school or go to the Shell City page and purchase balloons there. All proceeds will go to Cody's Crew Foundation. This will be a very special ceremony so if you can make it we look forward to seing you. If you can't I hope you will take the time to purchase a balloon on our site.

Many of you submitted logo entries for our contest. Many of you voted for your favorite. Now we are having another contest. We are asking our Crew for ideas for our official Cody's Crew Slogan. You can submit your entry on our Slogan Contest page. Get out that pen and paper and get busy...

We also have the new Cody's Crew wristebands on sale also. They are $2.50 each. For those of you who purchased them last year these are a little different. They are of coarse camo colored but they now have "" printed on them. Drop by and pick some up.

The new Cody's Crew T-shirts will be coming soon. I'll keep you up to date...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Girls...

Yesterday was Daniela's Birthday. We had cake and I took cupcakes to her class so she could give them out. She will be going with some friends bowling this Saturday.

Today is Diane's Birthday. I haven't asked what she wants but we are having our second Cody's Crew Foundation board meeting tonight. I'm sure that will lift her spirits a little. She achieved the tough task of getting our 501(c)3 approval in one try and with little help. She did it all herself...

We had an 80+ year old oak tree taken down yesterday. The tree was beautiful but only 3 feet away from the foundation of our garage. I've been wanting it down for years but have been too busy to mess with it. With the price of fuel oil I'm going to start burning wood this winter. I should have enough wood for 3 or 4 winters from that tree.

I ordered our first Cody's Crew shirt last week. After we see how it looks and make any changes needed we will put them on sale over at

Thanks for stopping by..

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dear Cody...

I just want to say that we all miss you so very much. Life is so hard without you here. There is not a day that goes by that we think of you and wish you were here with us.

Justin, Daniela, Mommy and Daddy love you!!!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Skyline Drive yesterday.....

Here are some pictures from yesterday's trip to Skyline Drive...

Justin and Daniela did great.. This is after we finished the hike...

Can't beat this view...

We had a great time...

Caught him thinking..

Come on Dad, hurry up..

Taking a break...

The water just takes you away..

The kids wanted to go swimming....

It was hard to keep Daniela out of the water..

I like this photo..

Birds eye view..

Monday, May 18, 2009

Here it is!!!!

You are looking at the new face of Cody's Crew Foundation. It was chosen by you the Crew members. Thank you all for your support. We are not going to stand idly by. We have many event ideas we are working on.

Things are rolling right along......

It is with great pleasure that I announce that we received our 501(c)3 status this weekend. Diane did a great job with little to no help, just research and hard work. I'm very proud of her.

As of this morning the logo contest voting is closed... We had a great response and we'll post the winner tonight.

Go Pens!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

2 more days of voting left.....

Come on people, it's free. You don't have to sign up for anything and I don't sell your email address.... What are you waiting for? Go and cast your vote for the official Cody's Crew Logo. There are only 2 more days left.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I just wanted to take a minute....

I wanted to let you know how things are going here. Mother's Day was very hard for us and especially Diane as you might expect. She was down in the dumps for two days. Although I haven't seen her today I did talk to her on the phone and she seems to be doing better.. Certain days and times seem to be hard for me. I can't explain it, I just think of Cody more some days and I miss him so. We still can't believe that he is not in our lives.

I think about what life is all about. I think that we humans believe in God because we just can't explain why things happen or really tough questions. Until Cody got sick I didn't really know what I thought and at times I still don't. I was not brought up in an overly religious environment. On the other hand as long as I've known Diane she has always said her prayers each night before bed. I can't speak for her and what she believes at this point. The loss of Cody has rocked her to her foundation. She has lost a part of herself and may never be the same. She seems to do a little better everyday. As for me, this has given me a purpose in my life. It has given me something to focus on. I hope that my children recognize what I'm doing and that some of it will rub off on them. As far as believing in God or the after life I feel as though I must believe. That is the only way I will see my son again.

I know that some of you may feel the need to write long paragraphs of scripture and that is OK but I'm not looking for reassurance or proof. I'm just releasing some of the pain I'm feeling right now. That was always what this blog has been about.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Relay for Life Speech

I tried to post this on the website but it wouldn't play. I'll work on this but until I get it worked out here is the link..

LOGO Entries are now posted on the website. Please swing by and cast your vote.

Friday, May 8, 2009

We hope to see you tonight!!!

At the Prince William Fair Grounds in Manassas, VA. The time is 9pm sharp.

As I mentioned below, I'm the Honorary Chairperson for the Relay-for-Life. I will kick things off for the Luminaria Ceremony with a little speech about Cody and his battle with neuroblastoma. Please come and show your support if you can.

Sunday is the deadline for the logo contest. We have some great entries which I can't wait to post on the website. If you have an entry you still have time to send it in.

See you tonight!!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Collecting thoughts...

So here I am, two months removed from losing such a large part of my world. Our lives have not been the same since March 6th. Diane is doing a remarkable job and working through this. The pain is so very fresh for her. Not a day goes by that she isn't constantly reminded of Cody. Songs on the radio, toys around the house, newly discovered Cody hand prints on the door of the bathroom or Sponge Bob playing on the TV. He is everywhere.

Life is moving along at quite a clip. I'm staying busy with Justin and Daniela and all that they are involved in. We are trying to do everything with them that we were not able to do for the past 4 years. They both seem to be adjusting well.

Running has become the vehicle with which we are going to drive the word about Cody's tragic death. I have some great friends that frequent the Runners World Masters Forum who have been praying for Cody for years. Now, they are running with me and raising money for Our next scheduled run is the Vermont 100 on 100. If you would like to donate to my run you can do it on the Donations page of our website.

Yesterday I attended a funeral for my co-worker's son. His son was a US Marine who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had returned to the states and was stationed in San Diego, CA and had been battling depression and other issues before taking his own life. It was such a hard funeral to attend. As all of you know I have something in common with my friend, the fact that we have both lost a child. Something that many of you don't know about me is that I too have lost a brother to suicide. It is one of the hardest things to try and understand. For young people life's issues seem insurmountable at times. They cannot see beyond today. One of the truly difficult parts of this is they do not fully grasp the devastation and destruction that they leave behind. In no way am I trying to say that I know what this young man was going through. He had been places and in situations that I have never been. I just wish he could have received help before it had come to this. I feel for his family. Now they must pick up the pieces. This year has to get better...

This week I must collect my thoughts and come up with some words of wisdom. I was contacted by the Director of the Prince William County Relay-for-Life. He asked if I would be interested in being the Honorary Chair for the Relay that Cody and I have attend and raised money for the last 4 years. Last year we were the top money raisers. As the day gets nearer I question if I will be able to hold it all together. It's one thing to type what you are thinking and feeling but it is completely different to speak it in front of hundreds of people. What do I say? Do I talk about cancer as a whole. Do I just talk about my beloved son? Do I mention that childhood cancers are not being funded properly? I have those questions to answer this week and put it into the right words.

There are 7 days until the close of the Cody's Crew Logo contest. All entries must be in by May 10th. I will post the entries on the website and everyone can vote on them. The winning logo will become the official logo of Cod's Crew Foundation. You still have time to email it to me.

So, that's it for now. I hope you all are doing well and enjoying life.

God Bless!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Went striper fishing with some friends today...

What do you think about these big fellas???

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

May 8th Relay For Life

Rich and Jenn,
it's funny that you asked about the Relay For Life. I have been asked to be the Honorary Chairman for the opening ceremonies. I get to say a few words when they kick things off. Since I'm a talker that is right up my alley.. :) Seriously though, I'm sure I will have a tough time keeping my composure. But, I think it is something I have to do. I need to mention neuroblastoma as much as possible because even most cancer survivors have never heard of it. I hope to see you both there...

Visit our website

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's been a while, I know...

I just thought that I would post a little family update. Diane told me I had better post something or you all would stop checking in... :)

Life has been a blur. Daniela and Justin have many things going on now. Staying busy is the best thing for them right now. Us too.... I took Daniela to Father/Daughter bowling on Saturday night. We didn't get started until late so we didn't get home until midnight. We both had a great time but we also both agree that 3 games were probably a little much. I won't be going pro anytime soon I know that...

Justin had his first Boy Scout camp out this weekend. No Dad this time. He seemed very tired when he got home yesterday so he must have had a good time. He and I go for our swim test on Tuesday night as a requirement for the canoe trip we will be taking next month. I can't wait for that. It sounds like a blast. I know he is going to love it.

Diane seems to be getting back to her old self a little everyday. We still miss Cody so. He and his spirit are everywhere in this house. The four of us constantly mention to each other that "Cody would like that" or "This was Cody's favorite." Here is a picture of something that Daniela wrote in the driveway. She didn't know that Diane saw it. It pretty much sums up the way we are all feeling right now.

I'm not sure what the stuff to the right is but you can see what she was trying to say.

The weather has turned very hot the past few days. It seems as though we skipped spring and jumped right into 90 degree summer temps. I have been getting back into my running. It seems as though it will be the vehicle that carries the word of Cody's Crew Foundation. More and more of my friends at Runners World Forum running races and raising money in Cody's name. We had our first board meeting last week and getting things ready to roll. We are planning many fund raising events including a 5K race. If all goes well it will be a yearly event.

Logos are coming in as I type. There are about 10 days left until I post the entries. Once one is picked it will be the face of Cody's Crew. We will put it on everything.

I ordered the new Cody's Crew bracelets yesterday. They are going to be camo like the others but instead of saying just Cody's Crew, they will give the web address.

I thank all of you for continuing to check in. I promise to try and post a little more often. Please check the web site. I have added a new page called "Kid of the Month." There I will honor a child who presently fighting the beast and an angel who is playing with our Cody... Please check them out....

God Bless!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cha Cha Cha Changes.....

Go to the new Cody's Crew website and look at the new changes.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

8 Days Remaining!!!!

Just a reminder from our friend Nancy.

"8 MORE days to donate money to Cody's Crew!

The whole month of April I am donating all profits - that is 30% of every sale will be donated to
Cody's Crew Foundation!
Go to my website and order anything and it will be shipped directly to you! That means you can order from anywhere in the United States and from the comfort of your own home!

Just cut and paste the link above into your browser window. I seem to be having issues with linking this site.

For those of you who don't know, Cody was in my daughter, Maggie's, class and Justin is one of my student's. The Johnson's have been kind enough to let me into their lives and share their memories of Cody and all he stood for - the pirates, the bravery, and everything else that made him the little man he was! This is the least I can do to help them, help others!

If you have any questions or just want to buy a few things that I may have it stock, the same 30% donation applies! Across the board the Month of April is Cody's Crew Foundation Month!"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In the books...

"Cody's Crew of Beach Bound Pirates" did great.. Here is a picture of the team and a quick note.

First off, I'd like to thank all of the great Masters that went the extra 50 miles to raise money and awareness to neuroblastoma and Cody's story. We had a very tough but wonderful time. We had the greatest group of people you could ask for.

From right to left in the back, ritchie26385(Ritch), Wolfgate(Richard), GettingOlder(Kirk), Tony Mollica,

Middle row right to left, Meka(Shannon), Tankini(Susanne), Geel(Karen), Geetah(Bill), MangoAK(Donna) and Deck Ape down if front.

We had an awesome time. Bill made the flag and that flag stayed moving the whole 24 hours. Toward the end of the race when it was dark and the trail was lonely it became spiritual. I spent much of my run talking to Cody. I know he was watching us and he is very proud of us. When the pain became unbearable for me I just thought of what Cody had went through and my pain seemed to disappear. I will write more later or tomorrow but I since I got home before the others I wanted to get this great picture out there.

Unfortunately Mango hurt her foot and was unable to go the distance she wanted but she represented very well and hope she mends quickly. As for the others, we all made 50 miles and some did more. Meka place 3rd in the women's group. Bill was holding back due to his trip in 3 weeks to represent the USA in Italy. But Bill holding back is 10 times better than the rest of us going full out. Thank you Bill. Also, Meka gave up her chance to run Boston to be with us. A double thank you... You guys are the greatest.

Thank you Bill for putting this together. Thank all of you team members for making the trip and sacrifice for such a great cause. I love you all.

So far we have raised over $1000 from this event. Thanks to this great group of people....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Come on now people!!!!!

With the hundreds of people who stop by my blog everyday we can only get about 8 entries for the Cody's Crew Logo contest? Maybe I didn't explain the requirements good enough. It can be your children or grand children who draw the logo. Kids seem to have many of the best ideas and pure artwork. We want new ideas. Many have already sent in versions of the Jolly Roger and that is great be there are many more ideas out there just waiting to hit paper. The dead line is May 10th.

On another note, Diane has gold children's cancer pins for sell on the website. Just go to Shell City on the site....

Come on people!!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cody's Crew Is Live!

Hear Ye, hear ye, Cody's Crew has just gone live. Please drop by, kick the tires and check it out. There is still much to do by I feel like it was time to kick things off. I will still be posting here on the blog but our organizational information will be displayed on the website. Please feel free to tell your friends and post links from your blogs.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Cody's Crew Logo Contest!!!!!

Diane and I have been kicking around some logo ideas the past few weeks and we decided to have a contest. We ask all of you who are interested to get out those markers, paints and pencils and start coming up with some ideas for the Cody's Crew Logo. This logo will adorn the website, letter head and banners which will be used at all Cody's Crew fundraisers.

The entries can be submitted one of two ways. First you can send a hard copy of your logo to:
Cody’s Crew Foundation
P.O. Box 2578
Manassas, VA 20108

The second way is to email it to me@

I would like to set a May 10th deadline for all entries. At which time Diane and I will pick 5 entries. Then I will post the 5 entries on the web site and let all of you choose the winner. I'm not offering any monetary or material reward for this contest. The real reward will be knowing that your piece of art will represent Cody and his foundation. All entries to this contest become property of Cody's Crew Foundation and will be copy righted as such.

As for the family - it's just not the same. The void that is present is indescribable. There is no little boys voice, no tantrums, no excitement, no playing...only silence. We are reminded of our loss everywhere we go. Justin & Abby are doing as well as can be expected. They have had some problems at school but mostly minor. Diane has not been able to find any happiness yet and still yearns to hold Cody in her arms.

I will soon have the Cody's Crew website running. It will be accessible but still under construction. I hope to upload the tape that was played at Cody's funeral. It is a collection of pictures set to his favorite songs from his Ipod.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April is Cody's Crew Month.....

I'd like to share with you this link. It belongs to a good family friend of ours.


The whole month of April I am donating all profits - that is 30% of every sale will be donated to
Cody's Crew Foundation!
Go to my website and order anything and it will be shipped directly to you! That means you can order from anywhere in the United States and from the comfort of your own home!

For those of you who don't know, Cody was in my daughter, Maggie's, class and Justin is one of my student's. The Johnson's have been kind enough to let me into their lives and share their memories of Cody and all he stood for - the pirates, the bravery, and everything else that made him the little man he was! This is the least I can do to help them, help others!

If you have any questions or just want to buy a few things that I may have in stock, the same 30% donation applies! Across the board the Month of April is Cody's Crew Foundation Month!"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Upcoming stuff......

I just thought that I would give all of you a little heads up on some upcoming events.

On April 18-19 there is going to be a 24 hour run for cancer which is going to be held in Hampton VA. A team has been put together and the name of that team is "Capt. Cody's Crew of Beach Bound Pirates", which is the brain child of my good friend Bill Allen. Geetah as he is so affectionately called on the Runners World Forum is one of the best ultra marathoners in the country. Here is one of his latest accomplishments. Bill is the 3rd guy from the right in the back row with the long hair. He and I met in Annapolis MD when I was running the Annapolis 10 miler. Anyway, our team consists of the anchor, "me" because I haven't been running nearly enough and many other of my RW friends. Although the entry fee for this race is going to American Cancer Society, some of the team members are raising money for Cody's Crew Foundation. I said it before, "I'm blessed to have such friends."

Here is the second thing I wanted to mention. Please mark on your calenders that on June 6th Cody's school is having a Cody Johnson memorial stone placed in the school garden. They are also working out the details on a fund raising idea where the kids will do laps at the school and raise money by getting pledges per lap. Diane and I are also kicking around the idea of doing a similar event on Cody's birthday, September 11th. September is also Children's cancer awareness month which most people do not know about. It is our goal to change that. So, that is about it for now. I will try to keep you all up on any new information and the progress of the website.

If any of you can make it to these events we would love to have you......

God Bless.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Trying to move along......

The days just are not the same around here. As we each try to find ourselves again it is quite evident that this place is not the same without Cody here. He has left such a void in our lives. We are all trying to adapt and focus on the task at hand. Nobody is having a harder time of this than Diane. There are days when she shows signs of progress only to take a step back and let the grief consume her. Luckily she has some very close people that she talks to and it really seems to help her. We both went to a grief counselor last week and will be taking the kids very soon.

I have spent the weekend working on the new Cody's Crew web site. I should have it up and running in a few weeks. Diane is having a lawyer look over the IRS foundation forms and we hope to have that resolved very soon. Those of you who have sent checks for the foundation please don't worry. We are not cashing those checks until we have everything in order and we can send you a receipt for your donation.

Justin say's "hello" and "thank you". He is doing OK and misses his brother very much. They were very good friends, not just brothers.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Feeling kinda low...

I had a great day at work today. I stayed busy and that does the job for me. But, I came home to get the kids off of the bus this afternoon and it just hit me. As I was standing at the top of our driveway I just had a heavy feeling of sadness dump over me. I started thinking about Cody and the way he would walk up the hill after he got off of the bus. The other two kids would be bickering but he would have this calmness about him. Maybe he was tired or the work needed to get up the hill just made him not get involved in the annoying argument taking place next to him. For whatever reason it was just Cody.

There was something primal or spiritual to that moment today. It's a beautiful day, sunny but cool and a gentle breeze that makes it perfect. I kinda stuck my nose in the air and took a deep breath. I don't know, maybe I was trying to smell my boy again. I caught myself talking to the breeze and the trees somehow thinking that Cody is out there watching or listening to me. I was kinda hoping that he would talk back to me. Oh how I miss him. This place just isn't the same without him.

Justin is in the other room playing a wrestling video game. It's a game that was a favorite of Cody and Justin. I use to remember hearing Cody say things like "that was a cool move right Justin?" Or "Justin, if we beat this guy do we fight the big boss?" Now all I hear is the sound of Justin working the controller. The volume is turned way down and he isn't saying a word. He is missing Cody as much as anybody. He seems to be trying to stay away as much as possible. He says that there is nothing to do without Cody here.

Cody is everywhere in this house. His clothes, his toys, his drawings or some papers with little Cody sayings written on them. His favorite drinks in the fridge and snacks in the cupboard. All of them bring back memories of him but they can't bring him back. Oh what I would give to get a chance to hold him again. Or, to have him sit on my lap and play the Pirate video game again.

Cody, you know that Mommy, Daddy, Justin and Daniela love you and miss you!!!