Intrepid hike is all about giving hope
YESTERDAY, stem cell transplant survivor John Fraser started 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.