Hi! I am Sonja, a scientist, a geek, a book lover, a mum and a wife, amongst other terms. I am a refractory Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor, and a Matched Unrelated Donor (MUD) stem cell transplant recipient.
I was diagnosed in early 2008 with Hodgkins Lymphoma (Stage 4) - the cancer was present in nearly all my lymph nodes, as well as my liver, spleen and lower spine. After completing first line chemotherapy, the cancer remained, and I underwent 4 years of gruelling chemotherapy regimens, radiation and then an autologous stem cell transplant (my own cells). This culminated in more chemotherapy and then a donor stem cell transplant. I was given new bone marrow by an unknown international donor, and given a new chance at life. I can't even call it a second chance, as I had gone past the second, third and fourth chances already. If I was a cat lover, I would liken myself to one with their nine lives.
Following my bone marrow transplant, I was given the magical words any cancer survivor yearns to here, 'complete metabolic remission'. And this remission has held ever since. I have I have had complications along the way with graft v host disease and I am far from my original strength. But I am gaining ground every day.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to have a beautiful daughter. She was the last embryo we had from IVF collection prior to losing my fertility with the various chemo regimes. My little miracle.
Now in 2018, I am finding my feet again. An arrhythmia that caused several issues over the years seems to be holding itself in check and I am able to exercise again. I have now set myself a goal – to compete in the 5km running event at the World Transplant Games in the UK in 2019. And as such MUD Blood Running has been born.
My goal may seem little to some, but to me it is huge. To be able to run 5km in itself is more than I thought would be possible up until recently. But to compete and represent my country would be amazing.
To help me achieve this goal, I have a substantial training and nutrition plan. I am seeking support from the community to help with the costs involved. As it stands today, the costs for me to train, then travel to the UK to compete including accommodation, food and equipment are estimated to be approximately $20,000.
I have chosen Australian Sports Foundation as my fundraising partner, so that all donations are tax deductible - so you can recoup some of your donations at tax time!
All donations, no matter how small, will help me represent Australia at the Games. The more I raise, the more I can put into training, employing leaders in their field of strength training, mobility and running.
My journey can also be followed on my website www.mudbloodrunning.com as well as Facebook and Instagram (@mudbloodrunning).
With your permission, I would love to a thank you to those who support me in my fundraising effort on my website/social media. So please let me know if you wouldn't like your name to be included.