It’s all about giv­ing hope

Stem cell trans­plant sur­vivor to tackle trek

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Erica Mur­ree erica.mur­

TO­DAY stem cell trans­plant sur­vivor John Fraser starts a hike for life through the Tas­ma­nia wilder­ness.

The Biggenden fa­ther of three is look­ing for­ward to shar­ing time with a group of Leukaemia bone mar­row trans­plant sur­vivors over the next six days.

A cam­era­man will be part of the team, doc­u­ment­ing the 65km walk from Cradle Moun­tain to Lake St Clair.

John’s wife Ta­nia said the doc­u­men­tary would give hope to peo­ple go­ing through treat­ment.

“When John was di­ag­nosed there was noth­ing on the in­ter­net that would ad­vise us what he was to go through,” she said.

John no­ticed a lump in his neck in mid-2014. A doc­tor sug­gested it be re­moved.

He can­celled the first ap­point­ment but for­tu­nately the doc­tor phoned back and sug­gested John at­tend the sec­ond one.

Mrs Fraser said she and her hus­band were shocked to learn John had a rare form of lym­phoma.

“It was a mas­sive up­heaval for the whole fam­ily as we re­lo­cated to Bris­bane in a mat­ter of

days,” she said.

“John un­der­went a six-month treat­ment of high dose chemo­ther­apy end­ing with a stem cell trans­plant at the Wes­ley Hos­pi­tal.”

Sons Angus, 14 and Tom, 10, who went from the Coal­stoun Lakes SS with 25 stu­dents were en­rolled to Dut­ton Park SS with 300.

She said it was a bit of a cul­ture shock for them as there were 22 na­tion­al­i­ties.

“I home schooled 15-year-old Ben,” she said.

“The Leukaemia Foun­da­tion got us a two-bed­room unit.

“I tried to keep things on an even keel and got out of the unit as much as we could.

“We played soc­cer and cricket or flew kites in a nearby va­cant al­lot­ment.”

John said he would like to give hope to other suf­fer­ers of blood can­cers and their fam­i­lies. He said there is life after rig­or­ous treat­ments, in­clud­ing chemo­ther­apy and stem cell trans­plants.

He is happy for ev­ery day he has.

“I now make the most of life and make good choices,” he said.

“I have a wife and three kids who need me.”

John said hope was like a medicine you couldn’t buy.

It was only this past week he let peo­ple know about the walk.

John said if he got sick he didn’t want to dis­ap­point peo­ple who had do­nated.

Ta­nia said it was im­por­tant to sup­port the Leukaemia Foun­da­tion as they looked after coun­try peo­ple.

John has been in train­ing walk­ing 5/10km daily with weights in his back­pack and swim­ming three times a week.

His walk­ing com­pan­ion will be the fam­ily’s bor­der col­lie, Rosie.

John will fly back home in time for his birthday on May 4.


HIKE FOR LIFE: Biggenden's John Fraser is a stem cell trans­plant sur­vivor and to­day starts a jour­ney of hope with nine oth­ers in the Cradle Moun­tains in Tas­ma­nia.


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