West Jordan resident that helps the needy is now in need
Johnny Martin is no stranger to helping others. For the past 30 years, West Jordan resident Martin has organized many motorcycle rallies in several different states—all in the name of charity. Over those 30 years, Martin has helped raise nearly $800,000. The money was donated to organizations such as Make a Wish, Angel Hands Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy, The Cancer Ride and Primary Children’s Medical Center.
Now Martin is facing a new challenge. Almost a year ago, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. It started with pain in his stomach on the right side. Martin went to the emergency room when he could no longer handle the pain. The doctors told him that his gall bladder needed to be removed. While in surgery, they found a bigger problem, a spot on his liver. The doctor presented him with an aggressive treatment. It would take less time, he should get better faster, and the doctor had had a high rate of success. “That’s the one I’ll do,” Martin said.
Martin is a chef for the movie industry. He has moved around to various states when asked. While living in New Mexico, a group of golfers came into the restaurant he was working in, celebrating. Martin found out that they had just raised asked them what they were celebrating. They had just made $10,000 for a charity. Martin was surprised.
“You guys are wealthy men, and $10,000 was all you came up with?” he said to them. So they made a bet with Martin: they gave him 3 months to make more. Martin organized a motorcycle ride for the Make a Wish Foundation. At first, the foundation didn’t want him to do it, as this had never been done before. They were afraid that someone was going to get hurt or that there would be fights.
“The police contacted me too. They told me that I would have to pay for it if someone got hurt,” he said. He went ahead with the rally and it was a big success, raising more than $20,000, and no one got hurt. That’s when he decided to keep on doing similar events.
While undergoing treatment, Martin was covered through Cobra insurance, but it has now run out and he hasn’t been able to get more insurance.
“I’m already sick,” he said. “Even if someone took me on, All his treatments and medications are coming out of pocket. At last count, his costs on medications was $4,687.07 a month. “I am behind on everything. I’ve already sold everything that I can,” he said.
He and his wife Shaleen are owners of the “Pop on Over Cafe and Deli,” located at 1098 W. South Jordan Parkway, Ste 110. He was diagnosed with cancer one week before they opened the café.Many of his friends and family are trying to help him cover some of his costs. Cynthia Cornejo, a good friend of his from Los Angeles, has set up a Facebook page for him, with information on how others can now help him. It’s at www.facebook.com/cynthia cornejo.
“He’s very giving. He keeps working because he doesn’t want to be stuck,” Cornejo said. On the Facebook page, it says, “People come first. Everything else is second.” More information is also available at www.giveforward.com/johnnymartinsmedicalfund.