East Lothian father of five with terminal cancer raising money for Tranent foodbank
East Lothian dad with terminal cancer helping those in need
A Tranent father of five living with terminal cancer is fundraising and collecting food for East Lothian Foodbank for the third year running.
Johnnie Meechan is taking food donations and raising money with an online fundraiser until January 27 through his Johnnie’s Journey initiative, which he hopes to register as a charity before he passes away to leave for his five children, aged 8-23, to continue in his memory.
The 45-year-old is fighting terminal Neuroendocrine (NET) cancer of the liver and duodenum, having previously escaped with his life after fighting cancer in his early 20s – but he unfortunately lost a leg. Since his latest diagnosis six and a half years ago, when he was told he had five years to live, Johnnie promised to use his time left to raise awareness of NET cancer while helping others.
He said: “I count myself lucky. I didn’t think I would get to see my kids, especially my youngest daughter, grow as much as they have. I started Johnnie’s Journey to give to them when I pass away.
“I’ve done the foodbank drive twice in the past. It’s something I like to do once a year. The JustGiving link is a back up for people who don’t want to donate food. Once we finish the fundraiser we will go to the cash and carry and get all the most needed items, with some of the money raised also going to local charities who are involved in giving out food also.
"We raised over £6,000 over the last two years for this cause and handed over mountains of food items, hopefully we can add some more this year.”
Wheelchair user Johnnie chose to help his local foodbank as he and his family have had to use foodbanks in the past to survive as his health condition impacted family life. He said: "There have been a few periods I have needed to use foodbanks since I was diagnosed, as my income completely changed as I could no longer work, and my wife became my carer.
"I think with every month that goes by society is becoming more and more dependent on services like foodbanks. We shouldn’t have to have them in a country as rich as the UK. I suppose it’s the sign of a failing government that people have to use foodbanks. But then if they weren’t there I don’t know how people would survive. It’s sad we need them but they are incredibly important.
“It's such a wonderful resource of help for anyone in need but they badly need our help. When able we should all do our part to help in whatever way possible."
Johnnie is also hoping to receive donations for a charity raffle as part of his foodbank drive. He said: “I'm hoping more local businesses will get involved by donating in some way or even help with a raffle prize to encourage others. You will of course get the credit, a shout out and my undying love! If you can help in that sense please contact me via the socials or direct. Every £5 donated goes into a bumper raffle with a huge host of prizes.”