The extraordinary story of Alison Johns

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire November 13, 2019 12:22

In 2009, the PGA professional was given five days to live after a virus attacked her liver. However, thanks to a successful urgent transplant, she survived and has now been nominated as the first-ever woman captain of the PGA Midlands region.

Ten years ago, PGA professional Alison Johns was given just five days to live after an acute virus attacked her liver.

Johns was told she needed an urgent transplant if she was to survive the attack and she was fortunate in that a suitable organ became available just in time.

Subsequently, the 48-year-old former Ladies European Tour player has made a full recovery. She teaches full-time at the National Golf Centre at Woodhall Spa. This summer she won a third gold medal in her category at the World Transplant Games. She has also been nominated as the first-ever woman captain of the PGA Midlands region but she will never forgot the dark episode back in 2009 which threatened her life.

“There is not a day that goes by without me feeling grateful towards my donor,” she said. “The transplant saved my life and for that I will always be thankful.”

Alison Johns

Johns’ brush with death is one reason why Sport England’s new We Are Undefeatable campaign resonates so strongly with her. It was launched recently to support the one in four (15 million) people currently living in England with long term health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis and Parkinson’s and to help them to remain active.

It follows research which shows that 69 per cent of people living with such conditions would like to be more active but that 24 per cent feared that physical exercise would exacerbate their conditions.

“I think new We Are Undefeatable campaign is a great idea and can only help people who are struggling to come to terms with health issues,” said Johns.

“I know from personal experience that health problems can seriously knock your confidence so any help you can get in that regard is bound to be of benefit.

“I remember when I was recovering I was desperate to get back to playing golf and I would have to admit I probably overdid things at first.

“My best advice would be to take your time and listen to your body. That is important but I would definitely encourage people to do what they can.”

England Golf was one of the first sporting bodies to come out in support of the new We Are Undefeatable initiative which has brought together a wide range of national charities including Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma UK, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, British Lung Foundation, British Red Cross, Diabetes UK, McMillan Cancer Support, Mind, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal Voluntary Service, Stroke Association and Versus Arthritis.

“We are delighted to offer our full support to Sport England’s new campaign and believe it will help people with long-term health conditions to find the best way to remain active without compromising their health in any way,” said outgoing England Golf chief executive, Nick Pink.

“Golf has considerable evidence to show that the game is good for long-term health and I am sure it could be of benefit for many of the people targeted by this new campaign.”

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Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire November 13, 2019 12:22
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