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Walker Johns loses fight with cancer

FARMINGTON — A Farmington Middle School student lost his 15-month battle with a long illness Thursday.

Walker Johns was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on July 28, 2010. He was a Farmington R-7 student and began chemotherapy July 30. According to a family member and information available on a Facebook page, Walker’s mom, Kelly, noticed he was pale and didn’t want to go outside with his dad. The family spokesperson said when Kelly’s kids are sick they could run a marathon and you wouldn’t know they were sick. She wanted to be on the safe side and took him in for a check up and found out he had a form of leukemia.

In March, Walker had a bone marrow transplant as part of his treatment for ALL. A group of students, parents and teachers gathered the morning of his surgery to remember all those who are going through bone marrow transplants.

Middle School Principal Dr. Dorothy Winslow welcomed those who gathered in the school library and each wore a green ribbon, the color of bone marrow transplants. She said it was a day to remember not only the Johns family but all those who are going through the same thing.

Walker had a special place in his heart for his sister Zoe who donated the bone marrow to her brother in an attempt to help him win his battle.

Walker’s greatest ambition was to be a Farmington Knights football player. He was a loving and compassionate young man and enjoyed his special friends. He mostly enjoyed hanging out with his dad on the football field. He was raised around the Farmington Knights football from daddy’s arms to becoming waterboy.

He could tell you every player’s name, number and position as the plays were run. He also loved playing baseball and basketball.

Walker brought a community together. Many in the area came together to help raise money and awareness for Walker and his family.

In January the second Ragapalooza was held and part of the money went to Walker’s medical expenses. Some members of the community organized a walk and run to help raise money for the family and a couple of week’s ago a barbecue was held to raise money for his family.

When Walker was first diagnosed many bought T-shirts, decals and bracelets for “Team Walker” to help raise money for the family.

The Farmington School District posted a letter on their website late Thursday evening about how the district will work with students on dealing with Walker’s death.

“An advisory or home room teacher will talk with the students about their feelings. A variety of communication activities will be available for students including poster writing, small group conversations, individual conversations, quiet reading and other calming activities. Staff will check in with students throughout the day and allow them opportunities for sharing. We appreciate all of the support and assistance you have provided for the Farmington School community.”

It is the second death of a Farmington School District student in the space of a few days. Summer Nausley, a second grade student, died Oct. 28 of injuries sustained in a car accident. Visitation for Nausley was today.

Visitation for Walker Johns will be held at United Methodist Church on Tuesday at 4 p.m. with funeral services Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the church. Burial will be held at the Copenhagen Cemetery in Farmington.

Memorials may be made to the Farmington football, wrestling, track and baseball programs.

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