Following gruelling treatment for leukaemia, Marie Sams is ready to chalk up yet another milestone, as she takes part in this year’s Velo Birmingham & Midlands 100-mile cycle, an event you can still take part in through Cure Leukaemia.
The journey is set to be an emotional one as she reflects on her own battle and remembers those who didn’t make it through. Making the event all that more poignant is the date. This year, taking place on International Nurses’ Day – Sunday 12th May.
Marie, an Operations Manager at Coventry University, was inspired to take on the challenge after seeing fellow survivors Mark Nicholas and Jenna Ostrowski cycle 500km from London to Paris to raise funds for the Cure Leukaemia cause last year.
It was April 2016 when Marie was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. The illness was discovered following an episode of shakes and blurred vision, after which she attended A&E with her husband.
She was referred to Professor Charlie Craddock CBE at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, after her initial bout of chemotherapy didn’t work. Here, she had further treatment before undergoing a cord blood stem-cell transplant.
Ultimately, the transplant worked and Marie is now in remission.
“When you go through something like this, it gives you a new lease of life and you don’t take anything for granted anymore.
“I met a lot of patients while I was undergoing treatment and some of those people didn’t make it. Their memory inspires me to make sure I make the most of every single day.
“I wanted to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia because the work of their specialist nurses is incredible and remains fundamental to the care and wellbeing of patients both before and after stem cell transplant.”
Marie has already supported Cure Leukaemia through many different initiatives. However, this is her first time for Velo, made extra special for the Coventry resident given that the route heads from Birmingham into the UK’s City of Culture for 2021.
“I had been looking to do something for Cure Leukaemia for a while, but I am not a runner, and, to be honest, not much of a cyclist either,” says Marie. “However, I’m ready to take on the challenge!
“I hadn’t actually ridden a bike for any length of time since I was eight-years-old, but my friend Rachael has also put her name forward and that really helps to have peer support.
“We are going out for training rides on Sundays and building up the distance, and we also have a good laugh which I think is important and keeps us motivated.”
We wish Marie the best of luck!
Cure Leukaemia still has places available for Velo Birmingham & Midlands. To join Marie in the Cure Leukaemia team, please email Velo@cureleukaemia.co.uk.
Alternatively, click here to support Marie in her fundraising.
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