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Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health

Together for more healthy years
Aletta Jacobs School of Public HealthRealisation

Personal impact by realising

Anyone who wants to, can help build a (Northern) Netherlands where as many people as possible grow old healthily. The Aletta movement already consists of a large diversity of people and organisations, each with their own perspective on health. Peter de Jong, a citizen of the Northern Netherlands, is one of them. He shares what he hopes Aletta will achieve, together with him.

Peter de Jong
Peter de Jong

"I am of Frisian origin, but 58 years ago I was born in Groningen. I have lived in Sneek for almost forty years. I grew up in a warm family, where a healthy attitude to life was paramount. My three brothers and I were spoon-fed with sports: football, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, skating, skiing... We did it all.

And when we had a bit of a setback, our parents helped us through it. “A person can do more than he thinks”, was my mother’s motto. And my father’s: “Ik knibbelje allinnich foar God”.

(I kneel only for God).

Working on my health was more a matter of course than a merit. Until 2007, when I was diagnosed with a chronic form of leukaemia. Suddenly I became very aware of my mortality. In 2012 I turned out to be resistant to the medicines I used. My only salvation was a stem cell transplant. My brother appeared to be the ideal donor.

When I was cured, my condition had to be rebuilt from scratch. In the gym where I worked on that, there was a quote on the wall that I will never forget: “He who overcomes others is strong, he who overcomes himself is mighty”. Together with my parents’ life mottos, that text was a great inspiration during my recovery period.

Now I look upon that experience as a turning point, a deepening in thinking and doing. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world."

"My story is about life. Not about surviving.

That I can tell it, is due to my participation in Lifelines. You certainly know that initiative: research among people in the northern Netherlands on growing old healthier. People’s data are being collected, and that is extremely valuable, because this enables scientists worldwide to continue to do fundamental research.

My data showed that I was ill. Fortunately, I was diagnosed in time, and I could be helped adequately, so I have overcome the disease. Because I contributed to the quality of medical science, I myself immediately benefited from the state of that same medical science at that time

I am still being checked every year. That makes me feel safe. That’s one thing, but a healthy lifestyle is of the utmost importance, of course. I already lived consciously, but I improved my lifestyle even further. Staying healthy is something you have to keep working on. I see it as my task to make others aware of this.

I wish for Aletta that her movement becomes manifest in the northern Netherlands and that together with existing initiatives even more impact can be created in the context of 'more healthy years'. If Aletta really is who she says she is, I want to be her ambassador."

Read more:
> Personal impact by educating
> Personal impact by exploring

Last modified:26 April 2019 09.52 a.m.
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