Chad Juros, 23, might appear to be a typical magician to some people, but his story is like no other. It starts at a young age, and, thankfully, it continues to grow.
When he was just 3, Juros was sent to the hospital and diagnosed with leukemia --something no one in the family had ever experienced. Four years later, the cancer returned. The family was tested for a bone marrow donor, and although they thought his sister could be the one, in the end, it didn't happen.
There was only one thing left to do. A very experimental procedure in the first stages of testing was performed on Juros.
“I remember one night the doctor said I wouldn't even make it to the next morning. I went from an 80 percent chance of living to a 5 percent. I had to learn everything over again -- walk and talk. And then I started getting better, and we didn't know how it was working, but it did.”
It was at that time, that his father knew he had to keep his son occupied. Every Tuesday, his father would close down his local dentist office and drive up to Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania. It was then Juros began his magic career.
See Juros perform: 11 a.m. every Saturday through the summer at the Ocean City Repertory Theater, 813 Asbury Avenue. An additional show is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, July 17. Tickets are $5. Call 609-457-6686.
Each week, a new trick was taught and one finally mastered. Although Juros doesn't remember much from the 17 months he lived at CHOP, he does remember the magic. Soon after the process, he was released home on an outpatient treatment program. He would finally get better.
Juros became a hit around the town. Growing up in Egg Harbor Township and graduating from the local high school there, people wanted to see him perform, and that is just what he did. His performances started for his family and friends, then for schools and block parties.
Success was coming fast for Juros, and his family was proud. But once again tragedy struck the family. His father fell over one day at an event, and his mother knew he needed medical help right away.
After the experiences just a few years earlier, the family was panicked. His father had been living with a brain tumor that went unnoticed for seven years. At the same time that his father would be treated at Penn, Juros would be treated at CHOP, with his mother running back and forth.
On Jan. 17, 2000, Juros' father passed away. It was his dying wish for his son to complete his magic, and that is exactly what he did.
Unfortunately, that still was not the end of the tragedies for the family. The after-affect of the chemotherapy and radiation at such a young age was finally hitting Juros. With pain in his head so bad that he could barely concentrate in school, he was sent back to CHOP.
“A blood vessel was hitting a vein, and the doctors had to go around it to fix it or I could never do magic again.”
After doing one last performance at the CHOP playroom, surgery lines marked on his head for the procedure, Juros was sent into the surgery. The doctor had told him to say the magic word, “Chadikazam” and everything would be OK.
“I came out of my coma four hours later and reached for the cards, shuffled and fanned them and I was OK. They said it was because I knew how to juggle and I had strength and balance.”
Finally, Juros' journey to success was ready to resume, and he began to follow through with the father's dying wishes for the family. It was at his biggest break of success, when his story was buzzing all around that Juros received a call from the White House.
The National Childhood Cancer Foundation was to give a speech on Capitol Hill that he would be included in. The family flew down to Washington D.C., and Laura Bush spoke about his story. After the event, Bush invited Juros to perform at the Easter Egg Roll in 2004. After his show there, he was invited the two following years.
It was then Juros started doing shows all over the place. He performed at the Victory Junction Camp where Richard Petty's people invited him down, and soon after he flew out to Las Vegas to be on the television show Chriss Angel Mindfreak.
“He made one of my dreams come true. I performed to a sold out show at the Monte Carlo. From there it was international for me. The Prime Minister of Aruba found me and he wanted me to perform for all the underprivileged families of Aruba. I was invited back this year, for a conference about happiness.”
After all of his success, Juros created the Spread the Magic Foundation for pediatric cancer in hopes that everyone can find the magic in their lives. The foundation was the NJASC charity this year, where schools raised money. More than $120,000 was raised to benefit the charity. Juros also sells one of the toys in his act, Spread the Magic gear, his mother's book abut the experience and a DVD containing how to do his tricks. All of the money goes to the charity.
In the future, Juros plans to continue his career as a magician and motivational speaker for many events and schools. He will graduate in December with a degree in visual arts and a focus on graphic design from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He will perform in Ocean City with the Repertory Theater as well as local shows in Ocean City and surrounding areas.
On July 27th, he urges fans and friends to visit The Fractured Prune donut shop on 12th and Asbury when he will be the featured “” 10% of sales will, be donated to the Spread The Magic Foundation, donations will be accepted, and Juros's items will be sold.
As for his medical future, Juros is considered completely cured.
“I have to live life to the fullest and that's that.”