#ForJohnThe JMA Trust was established in memory of a very special man – John Maurice Aitken. Let us tell you a little about John…
He was opinionated, headstrong, mischievous and honestly the most charismatic, warm person you could ever have the honour to meet. When it came to “keeping the faith”, John was a true believer. He showed a level of courage and strength that most of us could only aspire to. John fought lymphoma 3 times in his life, and even through the very darkest days of illness, he never once let it get the better of him. For this reason, and so much more, he became a special person to many.
John was first diagnosed when he was 23, while he was studying Maths and Statistics at the University of Glasgow. After successful treatment, he was desperate to get back to this, and pushed on to graduate with a 1st Class Honours Degree. John was driven in work and would give his all to be the very best he could be. After spending a few years working with the BAA Business Centre in Glasgow, he progressed into Project Management with Amazon in Edinburgh – a job he loved.
John whole-heartedly believed that with a bit of hard work, anyone could achieve success. John had a passion for sport, and even more so for football – this kept him entertained through many a long day on the ward during times of treatment. He loved his family and friends, food, organising, and giving advice – whether you wanted it or not!
When John was diagnosed with a relapse in 2012, he went through his first stem cell transplant, using his own cells. Unfortunately, when this didn’t go in his favour, the next step was to look for a stem cell donor – the number of people who wanted to be tested as a match for John was overwhelming. However, this one-of-a-kind man was unable to find a match on the Register. His doctors then made the brave decision to look into umbilical cord transplant – a relatively new treatment, particularly for patients with lymphoma. John was matched with a cord from a baby girl in Germany and had this second transplant in 2013.
Over this period, John spent a lot of time in the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre – known fondly as just “the Beatson” to its visitors. He came to love the people looking after him there and was looking forward to the day he could thank them for making him better – from the domestic who helped him connect up his laptop to the hospital WiFi on his first overnight stay, to the “Friends of the Beatson” therapists for their special foot massages, the nursing staff who gave him a big smile (and extra custard) even on his most grumpy days, to the doctors who took a chance on him when the odds were uncertain. He had a special place for all of them, and often spoke about giving something back when he was well again.
John was a strong believer in finding some positive in any difficult situation. He showed this more times than many of us could imagine. His legacy will therefore live on through the JMA trust. As he would say, when times get tough or when things are not going our way, all we need to do is “Keep The Faith”.
The John Maurice Aitken Trust is registered in Scotland as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation with charity number SC045343.