Cancer survivor, former Grammar student now a doctor
AT JUST 25, John Maunder has already lived a life made for a Hollywood feature film.
The former Toowoomba Grammar School student graduated from the University of Queensland last night with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, which he completed while treated for a rare form of blood cancer.
The last time John Maunder graduated from UQ, it was for an engineering degree four years ago, which was the same day he was diagnosed with nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The now qualifying doctor overcame extraordinary odds to stand on the UQ centre stage in his cape and academic cap.
"I've been studying for eight years now so it feels pretty good to be done," he laughed.
Mr Maunder said graduation this time around was a lot more joyous than his last.
"That was a Friday. By Monday I was having specialist appointments and I started treatment New Year's Eve and then uni 10 days later," he said.
At the time, Mr Maunder wasn't feeling satisfied with his chosen career path but it was a talk with his doctor that inspired him to take the leap into medicine.
"Dr James Morton was really supportive when all of this was happening. It was an overwhelming experience," he said.
"I went in and I was rattled but he was confident and reassuring. That's what I needed, I needed a plan, I told him I wanted to study medicine and he said 'why not?'
"It was all or nothing. If I was going to throw in the towel then I had to do it then."
Mr Maunder had intensive chemotherapy for six months during the first semester of his medical studies.
"I'd have chemo every Friday; it was the hardest thing I've ever done," he said.
"One occasion, I had treatment the whole day, my family was out bush so I got myself home and was sick all weekend.
"I had class Monday morning. I was sitting in the lecture theatre with bone pains and I didn't understand or was prepared for the agony and just had to write.
"I had prac that afternoon and I was so disinterested I broke down as soon as I got home."
Originally from Wallumbilla, he has accepted a placement with the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service.
"Going through this definitely makes you live every day to the fullest, as cliche as that sounds, you don't ever know what's going to happen," he said.
"Life's so fragile."