A plasma donation prolonged John's life
John's desire to help others gave him a new lease on life.
This article is republished from The Senior.
A retired firefighter and blood donor - many would describe John as a hero, and in a strange twist of fate, this desire to help others may well have given him a new lease on life.
The Melbourne resident was happily enjoying retirement, spending time with his wife Jenny and his grandchildren. The married couple had also become regular blood donors. When John decided to donate plasma for the first time, the decision would change the course of his life.
Speaking on behalf of John, Jenny said the couple decided to donate plasma after the nurse told them that it could help people in 18 different life-giving ways.
"We were happy to give it a go," she said.
While the donation went smoothly, shortly afterwards, on his 65th birthday of all days, John received a phone call informing him an abnormality had been detected in his plasma and would require further testing.
The news transformed the tone of the day from celebration to uncertainty. It would trigger a string of further tests and specialist appointments. While John felt fine and was showing no symptoms, he would be diagnosed with multiple myeloma - a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Fortunately, the cancer was detected early, giving him the best chance of responding well to treatment.
"Without that donation, he would have had no reason to go to a doctor and the cancer would not have been discovered so early," Jenny said.
"If he had waited until he was feeling unwell, his condition would have been far more advanced."
After a six-month course of chemotherapy, John underwent a procedure which saw stem cells harvested and then transplanted back into his body.
Jenny said she and John didn't set goals during his treatment.
"We had confidence he would be ok because of the early detection and we are thrilled he is now in remission," she said.
"You often hear stories about people whose lives were saved by the selfless gift of blood, but there are also people at the very start of the donation process whose lives are greatly impacted too.
"The process of donating plasma prolonged John's life without a doubt."
While John has not been able to donate blood or plasma since his diagnosis and cancer treatment, Jenny continues to donate.
Feeling healthy and well? Book a donation today.