Trudi's Diary - Living With A Brain Tumour

29 Jul 2022

Trudi Johnston’s inspirational weekly newspaper column ‘Living with a brain tumour’, which she wrote for 20 months before she passed away in 2006, has now been turned into a book – with all proceeds going to Canteen in Trudi’s honour.

Trudi Johnston was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma when she was 8 years old and when she was 13 she joined Canteen. Trudi was a hardworking and enthusiastic member of Canteen who became the Vice President of the Otago, Southland, and Canterbury divisions. She relished being able to support other rangatahi impacted by cancer and raise awareness of Canteen Aotearoa.

Trudi was again diagnosed with cancer in 2004, when she was 24 years old, with a brain tumour. Whilst Trudi was undergoing chemotherapy treatment, The Christchurch Star newspaper approached Canteen about whether a member would be interested in writing a diary that detailed their life during treatment. Trudi saw it as the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of Canteen and immediately put her hand up. The Star also invited The Oamaru Mail to publish Trudi’s diary, as ‘she was a hometown girl, born and bred in Oamaru’, said her mum, Pat.

“Trudi detailed her weekly life, with its highs and lows, and always with her unique brand of humour. Even after suffering a stroke from a brain bleed, she still managed to organise Canteen camps and invent ‘101 ways to use your Bandanna’ for Bandanna Week!

“Her diary, which she wrote for 20 months until she passed away, quickly produced a huge following, so much so that on the rare weeks when there was no column due to a setback in her battle with the brain tumour, people would ring up The Christchurch Star and The Oamaru Mail very concerned about how Trudi was and why the diary wasn’t in the paper.” Said Pat.

Trudi’s parents, Jock and Pat, have now compiled all her diaries into a beautiful book, including photos of Trudi and some of her poems.

Trudi’s parents are donating all the profit from the sales of the book to Canteen Aotearoa – in honour of Trudi’s passion for the organisation and support provided for rangatahi impacted by cancer. 

Get to know Trudi and what she fought so hard for. Purchase your copy of Trudi’s diary at: