"Supporting organizations that are dedicated to raising awareness for childhood cancer is so important to our family," says Shaunyl Benson

By Jen Juneau and Anya Leon
September 18, 2020 02:56 PM
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Criss Angel's son Jonny Crisstopher
Courtesy Criss Angel. Inset: Bryan Steffy/Getty

Criss Angel is stepping up in a big way in the fight against childhood cancer.

As the illusionist's own son Johnny Crisstopher, 6½, continues to wage his own battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia, he reveals to PEOPLE exclusively that he and his family are connecting with the Olivia Hope Foundation and Redline Steel to raise money to help fight childhood cancer.

The two organizations have come together "to design a custom steel plaque inspired by my daughter Olivia's favorite stuffed animal and our logo, Ducky," says Olivia Hope Foundation Founder Shelley Lorusso in a statement. "The plaques are meant to spread awareness of childhood cancer and help to unite the community in our fight against this deadly disease. All proceeds will go to helping families that have children battling cancer."

Angel, 52, shared three photos of Johnny Crisstopher in the hospital with PEOPLE, grinning widely as he showed off his very own Olivia Hope Ducky plaques. (The plaques are available for $25 on Redline Steel's website.)

"Olivia Hope Foundation showcases the bravery of children currently battling cancer on social media, and this month, we had the absolute honor of sharing Johnny's story," Lorusso says. "We were also able to send him Ducky plaques, which put a smile on his face."

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Criss Angel's son Johnny Crisstopher
Courtesy Criss Angel

"As a mother, having a child with cancer makes you feel so helpless, but then you realize you have a strength you never thought possible. It's truly heartbreaking to see your child go through this. I am sending all of my strength, power and love to [Angel's partner Shaunyl Benson] and this beautiful family," she adds.

Of the partnership, Benson tells PEOPLE exclusively, "Supporting organizations that are dedicated to raising awareness for childhood cancer is so important to our family."

"[We] know how much it can make a difference to so many children battling childhood cancer," she continues. "Let's all get together and help fight the big fight against childhood cancer."

Says Colin Wayne, President of Redline Steel, in a statement, "To now be seeing that our items are reaching people like Johnny and bringing a smile to their face while they battle is the ultimate feel-good moment. Hopefully we can raise enough money so that no child or family has to go through cancer again!"

Criss Angel's son Johnny Crisstopher
Courtesy Criss Angel

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While the release states that Johnny Crisstopher "hopes to ring the bell and finally be cancer free in December 2021," Angel gave an update on his older son's condition in June, discussing in an interview with Extra what his medical situation looked like and how the family was faring amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

"Kids that are going through pediatric cancer obviously have the challenge of dealing with that but when you underscore that with the pandemic, it's really a double threat," he said. "Families that have gone through pediatric cancer have been practicing hand washing, hand sanitizing, sanitizing areas when you go out to eat in a restaurant and social distancing."

"Because usually your child has immune-system deficiencies, and for Johnny Crisstopher and other children going through what he's going through, it can be dire — life-threatening," the father of two added.

"For the most part," Angel said, "we've been hunkering down at home and doing the quarantine thing because we don't want to take any chances with our son, except for when he goes to the hospital to do a blood transfusion or to Cure 4 The Kids here in Vegas two to three times a week."