Summerfield, NC -- When you ask 8-year-old Johnny van Kemp about himself, the last thing you'd hear him say is "I have leukemia."
"I just like to run around and play and stuff and be active," he explained to News 2's Faith Abubey during a recent interview. "I just have a great time."
Johnny was diagnosed this April; the illness has changed his life, but he has chosen not to let it define him.
"When I'm a kid I need to play, since I can only be a kid once," he said.
The aspiring "magic man" tells News 2, when he first heard of leukemia he had no idea what it was, let alone how it'd affect him.
"At first, I thought leukemia was one of my favorite foods. I thought it was nachos," he said with a smile cracking through the corner of his lips before breaking out into full laughter.
Johnny's parents, on the other hand, were broken by the diagnosis.
"Behind closed doors I would shed a lot of tears, I couldn't hold it in all the time," said Sharon, Johnny's mother. "Finally, Johnny was like 'mom, if you do this anymore, you're going to owe me $5 each time.' So, he's a rich guy right now."
The Van Kemps have watched their little boy's life change in the few months he's been battling the disease. Johnny has gained a new outlook on life, new friends, community support and lots of love
"I think God gave me this for a good reason," he said, believing that he's meant to inspire others in their battle with leukemia.
Saturday his story caused a local high school student to organize a bone marrow drive in his honor.
More than 60 people showed up to be swabbed for tissue testing. An act that might go on to save dozens of lives around the country.
Even his own parents still can't fathom how such a little boy can have such a big heart and big impact.
"In a horrifically bad situation, everything has gone about as well as we could hope for," his dad, John van Kemp said.
For Johnny, leukemia is just another one of life's curveballs; it's up to him to fight it and giving up just isn't an option.
"It's tough but I'm going to be tougher," Johnny said.
Doctors say his prognosis looks good.
The National Cancer Institute estimates about 47,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 and Johnny says he wants to continue raising awareness.