Criss Angel is reflecting on his elder son's recent cancer relapse, as the acclaimed illusionist presented an award Saturday to a fellow Make-A-Wish Foundation volunteer.
"As a parent going through this myself, you kind of see it from both sides of the perspective. I was somebody who used to just work with children that were sick. Then I had a son who was diagnosed with pediatric cancer," Angel, 51, told "Entertainment Tonight" at his Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino show in Las Vegas, where he presented his and the foundation's Magic Wand Award to Stephanie Driscoll.
"So, I understand, with a son who just had a relapse, what it's really like, moment by moment," he continued, "and how difficult it is to look at your child who should be worrying about what toy they're playing with. Instead, they're worrying about treatment that's literally putting poison into their body."
Angel, who was born in Hempstead and raised in Elmont and East Meadow, revealed earlier this month that his and girlfriend Shaunyl Benson's son Johnny Crisstopher Sarantakos, 5 1/2, is again facing the acute lymphoblastic leukemia with which he had been diagnosed at 20 months.
"My son will be 8 years old when he's done [having cancer therapy] and six years of his life, he has been doing chemo treatments," Angel told the entertainment-news program. He lauded Driscoll as "a friend. Her family is beautiful and amazing. Her little daughter, Avery, was truly an angel. I had the honor of knowing her for years, seeing her when she was in remission, seeing her when she had relapsed. There is nothing more important in the world than these kids, and Make-A-Wish understands that."
A longtime supporter of Make-A-Wish's mission of granting severely ill children such boons as personal visits from stars, Angel has launched the Johnny Crisstopher Children's Charitable Foundation for pediatric-cancer research.
Angel and Benson, who is in her late 20s, also are parents to son Xristos Yanni Sarantakos, 11 months.