KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
April 29, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
A Katy cancer survivor was once given seven days to live and told he would unlikely father children. Now he can celebrate his son’s success on the Katy Tigers District Championship baseball team.
Johnny and Jack Johnson share a moment after a Tiger baseball game. Photos courtesy the Johnson Family.
Conquering Curve Balls
Katy’s Johnny Johnson is no stranger to curve balls. He was born with a broken collarbone and skull fractures that resulted in emergency surgery. His father left when he was two years old, and he lived all over due to military life. His love of baseball quickly filled a fatherly void.
“I was ‘that kid’ on the field, the small one, playing my heart out with boys much older than myself,” says Johnson.
At 21, Johnson was diagnosed with cancer, lymphoblastic, T-cell- stage 4 lymphoma and given seven days to live. He survived but was told he never would have children.
Today, his son captains the Katy Tigers baseball team that clinched the District Championship. The team continues their journey towards victory later this week.
Johnson Believes in Miracles
Johnson believes in miracles because he lives them. He defied the odds and survived cancer to go on to mentor fellow survivors.
For years, Johnny and his wife, Kayse wanted to start a family. After 14 years of infertility and seven failed artificial inseminations, they experienced the miracle of the natural birth of their son Jackson in 2002. Jack, 18, is now a senior at Katy High School.
“My dad has always taught me to be a fighter just like him and to do what I love to do most,” says Jack. For him, that is baseball, and the ballgame will continue for Jack in college. He will be attending Youngstown State University in the fall, where he received a scholarship.
$650K in Scholarships and Baseball Offers
Jack received a total of $650,000 in scholarships and baseball offers from multiple schools. Some of his scholarships include: Honors Scholarship, Provost Scholarship, President’s Scholarship, and Academic Achievement Award.
Jack will be pursuing an engineering degree.
“I’ve always been naturally gifted in numbers and I love to take things apart,” says Jack.
Understanding his father’s struggles has impacted Jack’s work ethic in academics, athletics, and life.
'Tomorrow is Never Promised'
“I’ve learned never to take tomorrow for granted,” says Jack. “God has made today and today only. Tomorrow is never promised.”
“I have had the pleasure of getting to know a remarkable young man,” says head Katy High School Baseball Coach Tom McPherson. “Jack is a very courteous and respectful young man. Jack exemplifies everything it takes to be a student-athlete.”
McPherson has been Jack’s coach for the past four years. The last time the Tiger’s earned the District title was in 2014 and working towards this title has been a goal for the team and Jack.
Jack is graduating in the top 10 percent of his class with a team-high GPA He is also very active in his church, works part-time at The Oaks and side construction and fixing jobs.
“Jack’s parents raised him the right way and should be very proud of him,” says Coach McPherson.
“I love baseball. The fact is that you could be the worst player yesterday and the best player today,” says Jack. “You constantly have to work at your craft, and I enjoy seeing the outcome of my hard work. I also love being a leader.”
Jack plays third base and catches for the Katy Tigers. He draws strength from his father’s story of survival through cancer and relates it to his passion for baseball.
“I relate his story to the last inning of a baseball game,” explains Jack. “Picture you’re getting beat by infinity, then all of a sudden God comes up to the plate and
smashes a 1,000,000-foot grand-infinity-plus-slam that leads your team to win the World Series of World Series. That’s how my family felt, and that’s how he felt.”
“My dad has given me the ultimate amount of fuel to do anything in life and not just baseball; to succeed and give my very best at everything I ever do on this earth,” says Jack.
Jack, Kayse, Zoe, and Johnny Johnson at a Katy Tiger baseball game.
Johnny and Kayse have been married for 33 years and are proud to call Katy home. Johnny is a CPA by trade and consults to help businesses solves their problems. He never misses one of Jack’s games, even if he has to watch online. Kayse is a seventh-grade teacher at Morton Ranch Junior High. Their daughter Zoe, who they were blessed with through adoption, will be start Katy High School next year.
“I’ve learned to never give up in any aspect of life,” says Jack. “We have a little saying I’ve learned ever since I was little - ‘Don’t tap out.’”
The 25-3 Katy Tigers host the Milby Buffs this Friday at 6 p.m.