Dialysis patient spreads Christmas spirit
CHRISTMAS is a special time for families everywhere but for one Banora Point family, this year will be one of particular poignance.
This year will be the first in 12 years that Tash Johnston will not be in the Tweed Hospital for dialysis treatment over the festive season and she is determined to make the most of it.
"For 12 years I've been in hospital for Christmas," Ms Johnston said.
"I had a (kidney) transplant in 2011 and it only lasted three years. I went back on dialysis because I can't have another transplant.
"It's hard most of the time because I'm not here."
Ms Johnston decided not to let the possibility this may be her last Christmas get in the way of making her time with family count.
With the help of her 14-year-old son, Ms Johnston has adorned her property with Christmas lights and inflatable Santas.
"I'm doing it for my six-year-old son," she said.
"My 14-year-old son has been helping, he's the one that's been climbing up and down the ladders for me.
"It's hard because during the day you can't see them, so when you put them on at night you think you don't like them there. We're calling it Santa's inflatable world."
Ms Johnston said she hadn't planned on dressing her house up in lights for Christmas.
"Last year when I got out of hospital during all the Christmas sales I bought all the lights," she said.
"I'd forgotten that I'd bought them because I've had such a rough year.
"When we opened the cupboard to set up our Christmas tree, my husband Ryan asked where they'd all come from so we decided to use them.
"Ryan normally calls me the Christmas Grinch so I said I'm not going to be the Grinch this year."
Ms Johnston said she was surprised to see how much joy "Santa's inflatable world" was bringing to so many people.
"A lot of the older people in the community have said they've seen me out there every day putting something new in," Ms Johnston said.
"We get one family that comes down every night to see what we're adding."
To see Ms Johnston's Christmas display, visit 18 Covent Gardens Way.