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Mother's death sent John off rails

By West Briton  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

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JOHN Rock, 43, lives in Hayle. Currently single, John is a former drug user and now works as a drug and alcohol support worker, helping others to take control of their drug and alcohol problems.

John was first diagnosed with hepatitis C about five years ago, having contracted the disease through using contaminated needles.

However, committed to getting his life in order and to repairing the damage drugs and alcohol had done to his body, he went for a blood test. This confirmed he had the potentially lethal disease hepatitis C.

John then decided that the next step in his journey was to seek treatment to further repair his body.

He had a good upbringing and although he was the child of a single parent, his mother did everything she could to give him the best start in life. This included giving him a private education.

However, when John was 16 his mother died. Without the support of a father to help him deal with his bereavement he started to go off the rails, and it wasn't long before he had turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.

Now, 17 years on, John is in control of his life. He is free of drugs and has been cured of his hepatitis C.

However, his treatment journey was not easy.

With a year of treatment to be endured, including weekly injections, frequent trips to the hospital and a load of side-effects caused by his medication, John only got through the experience with the support of his friends.

"It was really hard," he said. "However, I knew I needed support and I asked for it.

"My friends, support workers and other people I met who had been treated were incredible. They were always at the end of the phone and they all encouraged me to stick with it.

"I'm so glad that the support was there for me. Unlike many people in the South West who don't have access to this type of support yet, I'm free of this killer disease."

John said he was really supportive of the programme being piloted in Cornwall, as it was only thanks to the support of others that he was free of hepatitis C today.

"I know how difficult it can be and the type of support being piloted will have a really positive impact on people in the South West," he said.

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