THERE’S NO TIE STRONGER THAN BLOOD: Janice Johnstone at home with two of her grandchildren, Campbell, 1, and Alexandra Dow, 3. Blood transfusions helped save the Burnie grandmother five years ago and she has never taken a day for granted since. Picture: Emma Graham. GIGGLES fill the cosy family lounge room.
Janice Johnstone admires her grandchildren, Alexandra, 3, and Campbell Dow, 1, as they cuddle up on the couch together.
The 56-year-old reveals without blood donors, she may not have been alive to meet her two youngest grandchildren.
The Burnie resident was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 50, shortly after her eldest grandchild, Madeleine Dow, was born in 2007.
Mrs Johnstone was admitted to the Launceston General Hospital with acute myeloid leukaemia – an aggressive form of blood cancer.
She spent about six weeks in the Launceston hospital while receiving treatment.
“All the blood cells are virtually killed to get rid of the leukaemia cells so I had to have a lot of blood and platelet transfusions,” she said.
“Blood transfusions are a bit scary because you don’t know how it’s going to affect you, but I didn’t even have a reaction to those.”
The transfusions continued over the course of three months.
She often thinks of those who take the time to donate blood.
“There wouldn’t be a day goes by that I don’t think of the people that have helped me, especially blood donors.”
Five years later, Mrs Johnstone is in remission and has been able to do the things she’s always dreamt of, like travelling overseas with husband, Rex, and daughter, Kirsty.
“I’ve had five years I would not have had … so I had a five-year party,” she smiled.
“I raised $1000 at the door for the Leukaemia Foundation and coloured my hair for the World’s Greatest Shave.”
She’s also back working at Romaine Park Primary as a teacher’s aide.
Mrs Johnstone said she often tells people the most important thing in life is to “take time out to smell the roses”.
“You get up each day and people growl, but really, every day is a good day.”
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This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.