Cameron Parkinson is taking an icy plunge to pay forward kindness shown to him.
Today Mr Parkinson, of Waimahaka, will take part in the Ice Bath Challenge fundraiser at Ranui House in Christchurch.
Ranui House is run by a trust and provides a place for patients and their family to stay while receiving treatment for cancer and life-threatening illnesses.
Mr Parkinson and his parents Marlene and Neville spent time staying in Ranui House while Mr Parkinson received treatment for leukaemia.
His story started in October 2020 when he felt unwell, Mr Parkinson said.
‘‘I just thought I was a bit crook, had a bug or something.’’
After a visit to the doctor and blood tests he was diagnosed with leukaemia.
He was admitted to Southland Hospital and then flown to Dunedin where more tests identified which form of leukaemia he had.
From there he was sent to Christchurch for treatment. Initially he was told it would be for six months but it ended up being nine.
In September 2021 he went back to work at Southland Farm Machinery in Gore but in April 2022, blood tests revealed the cancer was back.
More chemotherapy treatment followed in May, in Dunedin.
He had to get the all-clear before he could go back to Christchurch for a stem cell transplant, Mr Parkinson said.
However, because he already had treatment the chances of getting back into remission were not ‘‘flash’’.
‘‘It’s built resistance to the chemo I previously had,’’ he said.
After a month of treatment he had a break because he was very unwell with a lung infection.
‘‘It’s one of those things that happen because you have no immunity,’’ Mr Parkinson said.
Once he recovered from the infection he had more chemotherapy while a stem cell donor was found.
In September he went to Christchurch for more chemotherapy and radiation to kill his own bone marrow ‘‘so the new donor cells would grow instead of mine’’, he said.
After the transplant he needed to be monitored to make sure the donor bone marrow did not reject his body.
He was in Christchurch until January and since then he has been recovering at home — ‘‘It’s been a hell of a journey.’’
It had taught him to appreciate the simple things in life, he said.
‘‘You appreciate each day at a time.’’
He had discovered though, no matter how bad things were for him there was always someone worse off.
During the Ice Bath Challenge Mr Parkinson will attempt to stay in the bath for two minutes.
‘‘It’s probably going to be a shock to the system.’’
His friend Josh Komen of Greymouth who is also a cancer survivor would attempt to stay in the ice bath for 20 minutes.
Mrs Parkinson said apart from the shock of the diagnosis in 2020 there were many practical questions the family did not have answers for.
‘‘Do we rent a house, who looks after the dogs, who looks after the farm?
‘‘There were all these things just running around our heads.’’
Finding out they could stay at Ranui House was one less thing to worry about.
Everyone was very helpful and kind at the house and staff became like family members, she said.
‘‘When we went back the second time we just greeted each other like old friends.’’
She and her husband took turns at spending time with their son.
Friends and the community were a big help at this time, she said.
She was very glad to be supporting Ranui House, she said.
‘‘It’s more than just aplace to lay your head.’’