Owensboro family struggling after 19-month-old daughter diagnosed with leukemia

Owensboro 19-month-old baby diagnosed with Leukemia
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 8:11 PM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - When Kelsey and Matthew Johnson brought their 19-month-old daughter Minnie to urgent care for an eye infection, they didn’t think she’d be leaving in a helicopter.

Doctors at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville diagnosed the toddler with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an aggressive cancer of the bone marrow and blood.

“There’s no thoughts in my head, you just wonder, ‘why?’” said Matthew Johnson.

He said he felt like the wind got knocked out of him when he first heard the diagnosis.

“It took me about five minutes to catch my breath. I broke down. I cried, and I still do every day,” he said.

Kelsey Johnson said Minnie has a two-year road ahead of her with chemo.

She said she noticed when her child started getting sick, but she thought is was related to growth spurts.

“If something’s off about your kids, take them to go get checked,” she said.

Since the diagnosis, Kelsey Johnson said she’s been with Minnie in the hospital through her first round of treatment, and she’s trying to stay strong for her daughter.

Matthew has been staying at the family’s home in Owensboro to take care of his four other children.

He said he is starting a second job on Monday to help the struggles the family has been having financially with all the travel and medical bills.

“I’ll be working 16-17 hours a day, and I don’t have a choice because if not, I’ll lose everything, and I can’t do that to my other children,” he said.

Matthew Johnson said he’s only been able to visit his daughter twice since the diagnosis because of the cost. Instead, the family has been communicating every day via facetime.

Matthew and Kelsey Johnson have created a Spotfund fundraiser to help them keep up with Minnie’s medical bills.