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Katherine conquers marathon challenge for Will

Publish Date: 17/11/2016

Inspired by her boyfriend Will’s devastating leukaemia diagnosis, Katherine Newtown crossed the finish line of her first half marathon recently on the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In doing so she raised more than $16,800 for the Leukaemia Foundation – more than three times her initial goal – to fund blood cancer research and ensure a better quality of life for people like Will.

Katherine launched her ‘Get Your Blood Pumping Campaign’ in late August after deciding to run the 2016 Melbourne Marathon as a tribute to Will as he continues to show amazing strength and positivity in the face of adversity.  

“My source of drive and determination that kept me going throughout the race was Will,” she said. “He was in my mind and heart from the gun going off at the start to finally crossing that finish line 22 kilometres later.”

Will was a fit and healthy 23-year-old when he was diagnosed with a combination of acute lymphoblastic (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in February this year. As a fit and healthy young man, this came as a devastating and unexpected blow. 

He has since endured four rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and most recently, a stem cell transplant. 

With his family and loved ones by his side, Will has shown amazing strength and positivity in the face of adversity.

“Will has shown incredible bravery dealing with the disease, countless drugs and horrible side effects” said Katherine.

“I liken Will’s journey to a marathon, set on a long gruelling course, with many obstacles and uncertainties. Will is not so fortunate, he cannot stop, and he has to muster all of his strength and determination to get the job done, finishing a winner.”

In the lead up to the big day, Katherine suffered a knee injury that prevented her from tackling the full marathon. Determined to see out her goal of participating in the run, she completed the 22 kilometre half marathon.

Katherine’s supporters were there to cheer her across the finish line.

"I’ve had an immense amount of support from so many people – friends, family, work colleagues and even strangers reaching out to me,” she said. “Words cannot express how deeply thankful and appreciative I am.”

This year, more than 13,000 Australians are predicted to be diagnosed with blood cancer. This is equivalent to one person every 41 minutes, or 35 people every day.

“It broke my heart when I found out someone so kind, loving, generous and thoughtful could be dealt such devastating news,” said Katherine. “Will’s sickness made me realise I cannot take a single day for granted, I want to love and support him no matter what and will continue to support the Leukaemia Foundation.”

Has Katherine’s half marathon inspired you to Get Your Blood Pumping for Blood Cancer? Find out how you can join an event coming up in your community or create one of your own to help Australian families impacted by a life-shattering blood cancer diagnosis.

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