Criss Angel has revealed that his and girlfriend Shaunyl Benson's elder son, 5 1/2-year-old Johnny Crisstopher Sarantakos, is again facing cancer after having been in remission.
The acclaimed illusionist — born Christopher Sarantakos at Hempstead General Hospital and raised in Elmont until fourth grade, when his family moved to East Meadow — told TMZ.com Wednesday that Johnny, who at 20 months had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, had "been in remission. But unfortunately," Angel continued, "he had a relapse and he’s going back into the hospital on Monday."
In the interim, the couple is taking Johnny and their younger son, Xristos Yanni Sarantakos, 10 months, to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and afterward, Angel told TMZ, to Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
"Thank you @Cure4thekids and all for your thoughts and prayers," Angel wrote on social media Wednesday, posting a video of Johnny and his parents at that Las Vegas-based nonprofit agency that helps to treat and try to prevent "childhood catastrophic diseases, cancer & blood disorders," according to its website.
In the social media video Angel posted of himself and Benson at their son's bedside at Cure4thekids, a woman tells the boy, "Sometimes it makes people feel sad … that this happened. It's OK to feel that way. I am angry that this happened to you again. That is not fair!" she says in a storytelling tone. "Darn that leukemia cell," she adds, slapping a card representing the cell.
"We've got to beat that guy up and get him out of your body, huh?" she continues. Johnny follows her lead, slapping the card. Angel reaches over in solidarity and does likewise. "We've got some powerful medicines that are going to help fight and get him out of your body, right?" the woman explains, adding that leukemia "doesn't do anything but get in the way of your healthy cells. … So they can't do their job — so they can't give you oxygen to give you energy and platelets so you don’t get bruises, and white cells so you don’t get tummy aches or sore throats."
In another social media video, posted Thursday, the 51-year-old Angel clowns with his son, pretending they are robots. He also posted several Instagram photos and videos of the family and others in Disneyland — and several more on Instagram Stories, where over one heart-rending video of an exuberant Johnny jumping up and down in a crib with his baby brother, Angel wrote, "How can he have anything wrong. He's full of life, love and happiness!"