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Over $25,000 raised at Nathan Johnson benefit

Nathan Johnson talks about his life and condition with television reporters.

Over 1,000 people attended the benefit for Nathan Johnson on Sunday, Oct. 24. The community effort raised $25,000 in support of the Johnson family.

Nathan, 9, is awaiting his second heart transplant. The Perham boy is listed as 1A status in the region, meaning he'll get the first heart available.

"It was a wonderful outpouring of support and we couldn't be more pleased with this community," Organizer Pastor Phil Booe of St. John's Lutheran Church of Corliss said.

The funds were raised from free will offerings, a silent auction and bake sale, along with $1,500 that was matched by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

"It shows the love and support only a small town can provide," Booe said.

An added perk to the benefit was Nathan being released from the hospital to join his entire family, father Eugene, mother Pam and sister Kayla to attend and witness the outpouring of support.

"Pam teared up when she walked in at the site of it," Booe said.

Nathan, rather shy at all the press like any typical nine-year-old would be, talked about what he liked to do and even addressed his health as well.

"It doesn't feel pleasant. Going through it again doesn't feel good," he said.

Bittersweet feelings are only natural in cases like this, as noted by Pam Johnson.

"It's kind of a bittersweet thing. You know in order for your child to survive there's also another family on the other end who's also lost a loved one."

But on Sunday, those feelings were shared by a constant throng of well-wishers.

"It takes your breath away," Pam said. "You don't find this everywhere. This is just absolutely overwhelming."

Given the Johnson's situation, it's nice that, for once, they are overwhelmed in a good way.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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