From tragedy comes triumph

The story of Johnny Chapman

By Morgan Briesmaster |

Published 02/07 2016 11:21PM

Updated 02/08 2016 11:02AM

Johnny Chapman died when his heart gave out moments before he crossed the finish line at the Bix in 2010.
After that, his parents started raising money to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
"That's a call no mother, no father should receive," said Rosemary Chapman.
She and her husband John Chapman remember the tragic day. Their son, Johnny Chapman,  died of a heart attack after running the Bix. 
Rosemary explained, "Rather than sit in my bedroom and cry I decided that, knowing my son and how involved he was with kids and young people, I know that Jonny would say 'Mom lift your head up, get going and do something good for someone else,' so that's what I decided to do."
Rosemary started designing sock kits called "Heart Full of Love." Donated patterns and yarn helped her get going.
"We already had a series of socks going for breast cancer and ovarian cancer and I thought why not heart disease," Rosemary said.
The long-time knitter lets the socks tell the story.
"There's three arteries, well these's six that go around here and every third one is solid because one in three people in the United States has heart disease," Rosemary said, "and then there's row of little hearts that we're hoping this doesn't happen to."
The money the couple makes selling the socks will benefit patients at Genesis Health. Their goal was to raise $50,000.
Rosemary continued, "I even sold off some of my yarn stash. I thought it would be painful at first, but it wasn't and it felt so good because I probably have more yarn than I'll knit in my lifetime."
It's been four years, and the Chapman's have finally reached their goal. Something they never thought would happen so soon.
"For once in my life I was speechless and I'm not very, very often am I ever speechless," Rosemary said with a laugh.
The John Chapman Heart Fund will provide early detection of heart disease for anyone in the quad cities.
"Had my son either has a cholesterol check or stress test, Johnny would still be with us," Rosemary said.
The fund helps pay for  cholesterol checks and stress level tests for those who can't afford it. The money benefits only the patients.
"It's been very therapeutic for me. Sometimes, sometimes it doesn't take anything and the tears come," Rosemary said. "I know Johnny's pleased, I just know it."
The couple plans to continue raising money.
If you would like to purchase a sock kit, contact Rosemary Chapman via email at


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