Opinion

We should all remember to be thankful

By Morgan Dyer

In September last year I went to Fleetwood Mac's concert, I was annoyed by the Sydney Swans not making footy finals, concerned that Abbey wouldn’t win The Bachelor and was more than likely worried about my fitness, what my friends were doing and who I was dating.

Although it was a pretty mundane September for my 22-year-old self, I look back at 2019 with mixed emotions. Last year I experienced some of the biggest highs but at the same time there were some big blows.

But my outlook has changed after meeting Ardmona's Johnathon Bentancourt.

His devastating story was published on Friday.

In September last year Johno, 23, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer which usually responds well to chemotherapy.

But in Johno's case three rounds of chemo and radiotherapy was not enough and did not beat the cancer. It formed an extra mutation that stopped it responding to treatment.

So, on December 21, while I prepared my Christmas Day outfit and tied up stories in the newsroom, Johno was told he had three months left to live.

No-one deserves to have any type of cancer — I understand that.

But for a 23-year-old to be told by doctors that there are no more options is enough to bring me to tears. And it did — more than once this week.

The reason this story struck me as hard as it did is because Johno and his beautiful family are some of the kindest souls I have met, and they are people that many of us could easily relate to.

Like most parents, Johno's mum and dad, Terri and Richard, were more than likely looking forward to watching him and his two siblings fly the nest to start their own adult lives.

I could just imagine the family sitting around the dinner table eating a home-cooked meal or sitting in the lounge room laughing and debating the latest TV show.

But unless a miracle happens, soon they won't all be able to enjoy these simple things we so often take for granted.

During the interview the family's members had so much praise for everyone around them — the doctors, nurses, community and extended family.

They mentioned how sorry they felt for the bushfire victims.

And I can honestly say, if that were me I don't think I would be as kind. I would feel an immense amount of anger or blame someone, anyone.

During the interview Terri said to me: “He’s always been such a good boy. Do you know what I mean?”

I knew exactly what she meant. What they are going through is just so unfair. I cannot comprehend it or what they are yet to face.

Their story was a wake-up call for me, and for how we should all live — because it could all be swept from under our feet within a matter of months or even days. We need to stop getting caught up in the stress of day-to-day life or the debates and conflicts. And we need to remember how lucky we are.

If you've been thinking about trying a new hobby or job, dreaming of that holiday, thinking how much you should tell your family and friends you love them, how much you want that dessert — or anything else — then do it, and do it without fear.

Because who knows what tomorrow holds?

To learn more about Johno's story, or to help fund last-minute experimental treatment, visit bit.ly/2FwFYs3