Constable Jess Sampson of Ipswich Police endured a hard battle to beat Leukemia before becoming a police officer. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Constable Jess Sampson of Ipswich Police endured a hard battle to beat Leukemia before becoming a police officer. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

Constable conquers cancer

FOR better or worse, Jess Sampson's long and painful battle with leukaemia changed the way she looked at life.

The first to admit that she was a typically rebellious and stubborn teenager, the Ipswich cop was at one point so sick of fighting that she gave up on her life-saving treatment and planned her own funeral.

It was at this point in her life that she gained a new perspective.

She set her sights on becoming a police officer and, despite some setbacks along the way, has never looked back.

After doing 10 months out at Cloncurry station, Constable Sampson returned to serve her home town community of Ipswich in April this year, and is now looking forward to a long career in the police force.

Considering what she went through as teenager, it's an extraordinary achievement.

"I still have to see the specialist every six months," Const Sampson said.

"I'm definitely not a normal 26-year-old. I suffer from fatigue but it's all about eating well and sleeping when I can and making sure I exercise."

Const Sampson was diagnosed with leukaemia at 15.

Pretty soon she was undergoing chemotherapy.

It was just before she was due to start her fourth cycle of treatment that she decided to pull the pin and die.

"I yelled: 'No! That's it. I've had enough, let's get out of here. I'll pack the bathroom stuff, you can do my clothes'," she said.

"My Mum was sitting next to me. She was frozen and her cheeks covered in tears.

"I wondered why she wasn't supporting my decision to go home and have some quality of life before I died.

"In that moment I realised I wasn't just fighting for my life, I was fighting for my family as well."

Shortly after resuming her fight, the sick teen was told she would need a bone marrow transplant.

A donor from Sydney answered the call and the procedure - despite being painful and traumatic for both parties - was a success.

Armed with a new sense of purpose, the former Ipswich State High student set about achieving her goal.

She studied a Diploma of Justice and applied to join the police, brushing off the first three unsuccessful attempts and getting the tick of approval on the fourth try.

"Before I was sick I wasn't the nicest person in the world - I got what I wanted," she said.

"But I always stuck up for people, and when I was sick I decided that's what I wanted to do.

"If something is wrong, then it is wrong and sometimes you have to stand up for what it right - even if it gets you into trouble.

"I just kept ringing up until they accepted me."

Const Sampson said her long-term goal was to work in the child protection and investigation unit or the criminal investigation branch.

"For now, I'm just happy learning the ropes," she said.



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