Cookie Johnson (pictured right), the wife of former NBA great Magic Johnson (pictured left), had the undivided attention of a packed-house audience as she was honored at Wednesday night’s Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation dinner, where she revealed how she felt when she learned about her husband’s HIV-status, according to the New York Post.
Cookie, who is a philanthropist and board member of the Magic Johnson Foundation was humbled to receive the very prestigious honor for her tireless work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The 54-year-old mother of two went on to divulge to the attendees of the event that upon learning of Magic’s diagnosis in 1991, she not only feared for her own life but that of her unborn child. Cookie had to process the news about her husband’s HIV and also contend with the news that she was pregnant — all in the same week.
Cookie referred to Magic’s health news as “traumatic” and went on to share:
“The scariest part for me was not knowing if I had it,” she said at the awards dinner. “Then, that week I found out I was pregnant, so I didn’t know if my baby had it . . . back then you had to wait at least 10 days to find out what your test results were, so that was traumatic.”
There was some light at the end of the dark tunnel when Cookie says she found out, she and her son tested negative for the AIDS virus but then there was Magic’s status to contend with, “I still had to worry about my husband,” said Cookie.
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Magic appears to be the poster child for health despite his HIV diagnosis and Cookie advised, “The earlier you find out and get medication, you can live a long healthy life.” She also added that Magic wasn’t sick at the time and only “found out through a test for [an] insurance company.”
Cookie also thanked Elizabeth Glaser, a major AIDS activist who succumbed to the illness back in 1994 and whom she says was instrumental in encouraging her to join in the crusade against HIV/AIDS. According to Cookie, “[Elizabeth] encouraged us to fight not only for ourselves, but for all of those who didn’t have a voice. I’m grateful for the fight Elizabeth instilled in us and humbled to receive this prestigious honor.”