Ahead of Moniker Art Fair next weekend we thought we'd remind people the impact of raising money for The Hepatitis C Trust and the miraculous way people can turn their lives around by accessing treatment. Here is Johns's story
I was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2005. I had went through a phase in my 20s when I experimented with drugs, but I had moved on and had got myself a good career. In many ways I had almost forgotten that I used to take drugs, and so it was like a bolt from the blue when I was diagnosed with hepatitis C. Worse than that, my liver was in a very poor state due to the virus being undiagnosed in my system for so long.
Due to the liver damage, I very quickly became extremely ill. I tried interferon treatment and it not only didn’t work but, because of the side-effects and the length of the treatment, it sent me into a spiral of unemployment and depression which impacted hugely upon my life. My relationships with friends and family broke down, I was out of work and claiming benefits, and I felt like a failure. To compound this, I then had to undergo a liver transplant which was obviously hugely traumatic and left me seriously ill.
Good news came, though, when I was told that I could access the new, interferon-free treatments. Given my previous experience of treatment I was fearful, but I sailed through with no side-effects and I’m now virus-free. I can hardly put into words the impact that this has had on my life. Yes, my health has improved, but it has meant so much more than that. I no longer live with the shame and guilt, and I feel like I’ve been reborn. I have strengthened my relationships with loved ones, and I’m now back in full-time employment; something which means a great deal to me, as someone who has always prided himself on hard graft and contributing to society.
The Car Bonnet Lottery is now live if you want to raise money for The Hepatitis C Trust and bag yourself a valuable work