The widow of an MSP who died of cancer three years ago is shaving her head for charity – after revealing she is now battling the disease.
Alex Johnstone represented the north-east at Holyrood for 17 years until his death in 2016, when tributes from all political sides poured in. He was just 55.
Now his wife Linda has been diagnosed myeloma, a rare and incurable blood cancer which originates in the blood marrow.
She also has another type of blood cancer called amyloidosis, a serious condition caused by the build-up of an abnormal protein in organs and tissues.
Mrs Johnstone, of Stonehaven, has undergone chemotherapy but now faces a stem cell transplant after having her own immature stem cells harvested over three days last month.
In the next stage of treatment, she will have the stem cells transfused back in a process that could see her kept in semi–isolation in hospital for up to a month.
Mrs Johnstone said: “Just before the transplant, I will be given a large dose of chemotherapy which will kill off my immune system to allow the new cells to begin functioning normally, but a side effect of this is that my hair will fall out.”
To take back control and turn a “negative into a positive” – by raising funds towards finding a cure for the disease – she has decided to shave her head.
She said: “I am hugely grateful to the many medical professionals who have been involved in my treatment so far and the speed with which they have acted.
“I’ve also been fortunate in being given the chance of a stem cell transplant, as although the type of cancer I have is incurable, it is treatable and it can be managed.
“It did come as a shock, but the amyloidosis isn’t in my heart, so I can live with it and I know I can’t just sit here and do nothing to help others.”
The head-shaving event, which includes a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses, takes place on Monday, September 16 at 7pm at the Belvedere Hotel in Stonehaven.
Mrs Johnstone has urged as many people as possible to come along and she can be contacted through her Facebook page ‘Myeloma and me- Linda’s Journey’.
Mr Johnstone was the longest serving Conservative MSP of the Scottish Parliament after being elected at the 1999 election.