A local tale of hope

6th Magazine - 4 April 2004

As dad Roger Johnson watched his son Peter collect a new belt in karate last week, he had more reason than most to feel his heart swell with pride, for he had good reason to believe that he would never see his son’s twelfth birthday, never mind achieve any kind of athletic prowess, after he was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of three.

By the time Peter was five, he was in remission from the disease and, at last, could enjoy swimming and enjoy other activities that he had been unable to do with tubes coming out of his body.

When he was nine, Peter started karate at the Devizes club, and, in March last year, he gained his brown and one white striped belt, two levels below black.

But in May last year, Peter had his usual blood test and the day the family were due to go on holiday, they were told that all had returned.Dad Roger Johnson recalled: “The nightmare had started again. When I asked him if he wanted to wear a hat to school, he said ‘don’t worry dad, I’m bald and that’s all there is to it’.”

Mr Johnson, who calls himself the “proudest dad in the world” also commented: “He’s an unassuming lad but he’s got a big heart and always thinks of other people first and he never complains.”

Roger also made an appeal for donors. “Please everyone, take time out of your busy lives to become blood donors and put yourself forward as a potential bone marrow donor. You will be saving someone’s life and it’s a great feeling.”