Zoah Amal Vivien Johnston


February 4, 2014 - December 17, 2021


The name Zoah means morning light in Arabic and Urdu.  Light is exactly what Zoah brought to her family when she was born at 7:46 a.m. at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on February 4th.  “ZoZo”, “Zee”, or “Zo”, as we called her, knew exactly who she was from the moment she set foot on this earth.  She knew what she wanted and what she didn’t, whether it was something to eat, watch, listen to or do. Zo also knew people; she was naturally attracted to authentic people and could sniff out in a second if someone was being phony with her.  


Zoah’s imagination and creativity were a point of pride for her, and for us. She loved reading, arts and crafts and colouring. One of her favourite activities was colouring while listening to Harry Potter being read to her.  Playmobil, Barbies or playing on the iPad, Zoah loved to roleplay.  Her favourite aspect of any roleplaying would always be interior designing the playhouses and she would spend hours setting up a house and making it just right. Much like in play, Zoah took the same pride in her room, keeping it meticulously organized. Each item that was displayed or hidden away in her drawer for special things was placed with thought and precision. 


Outside, Zoah loved riding in the bucket bike through the Don Trail, bonfires (with marshmallows!), going on adventures in the neighbourhood and sitting on the porch and singing to the city as it rolled by on a lazy afternoon. Zoah was blessed with the ability to hear a song only once or twice and magically know all the words. She had a beautifully curated Spotify playlist that, at one point, was six hours long. She knew all the words to every song, including all the words to Frozen’s “Let it Go”... in Japanese! Disney was very important to Zoah, from Frozen to Descendants to Sophia, it seemed like there was always a new magical story to grow into and enjoy. In fact, one of Zoah’s favourite trips was our pilgrimage last June to Disney World. 


Over the last three years of her life, Zo moved through her journey with cancer with fierce grace and joy. Although what was happening to her was often very difficult, she rarely let it get in the way of having fun and being a kid. Her strong spirit and brave openness to change were key traits that helped her navigate the difficult journey. Her other superpower was the amazing Village that formed around her. Their love and support were transformative to all.  Of course, every journey needs a guide and the awe-inspiring team at SickKids were always a North Star on our journey.  The compassion, skill, fun and laughs that they provided will never be forgotten. Zoah was never afraid to let her healthcare team know exactly what she needed and how it should be done.  


Zoah was loved. Zoah is loved. Zoah is love. 


She is survived by her parents, Jason and Sara, her grandparents Teta, Baba, Ama and Papa, her aunts and uncles, (sister) Ali, Gigi, Culley, Tante Lana, Norm, Sue and her many, many friends including her three BFFs Lyla, Amelia, and Maya.  In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to SickKids Hospital to help other kids like Zoah continue to receive the world-class love, fun and support that only it can offer.