Kenza is running the London Marathon 2018 for Leukaemia UK after her brother Jos was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 17.

Kenza’s brother Jos was a fit and sporty 17-year-old when he developed a chest infection he couldn’t shift. As Jos lost weight fell and his energy levels plummeted, his family realised something was seriously wrong.

However, they were completely unprepared when their GP turned up on their doorstep with the news that Jos had acute myeloid leukaemia.

He was admitted to hospital the next day and started treatment. After gruelling chemo and blood transfusions Jos went into remission where he has been ever since.

That was 14 years ago, but for Kenza and her family the memory of Jos’ leukaemia remains vivid.  She knows the outcome could have been very different and has been inspired by Jos’ experience to raise funds for Leukaemia UK.

“It might sound naïve, but when Jos was diagnosed I had only really related leukaemia to young children and hadn’t appreciated it really can happen to anyone, whatever age or fitness, and nothing can prepare you for it."

For Kenza, 35, deciding to take on a challenge to raise funds for a good cause was a no-brainer. Her late father, who died when she was very young, was an athletics journalist and running coach. Following in his footsteps, Kenza set up her own running club - the Blister Sisters – five years ago which she runs voluntarily to encourage as many people as possible to get involved. So, running the London Marathon for Leukaemia UK felt like the right challenge.

She said: “I completed the marathon in 2005 and had the time of my life, and always vowed I'd do it again one day. Fast forward a few years and I've got the running bug back and the time feels right to take it on again!”

Kenza's fundraising efforts have been fantastic to date. Blister Sister runners have contributed to Kenza’s fundraising, as she has been offering extra weekly coaching sessions for beginners, with all proceeds going to Leukaemia UK. A raffle at the club’s Christmas party raised an additional £400 and another fundraising dinner and raffle this March has raised a further £472.

With the London Marathon fast approaching, Kenza’s training has been intensifying. As a working mum, finding the time has not been easy but she squeezes in runs or gym sessions early in the morning before her children are up and Sundays are reserved for long runs.

“Motivation can be hard at times, especially in the snow and rain, but when I think about the cause I am running for, and about those who are not lucky enough to be able to get out and run it really inspires me to stop moaning and get on with it.”

Kenza added: “I'm so pleased to have the privilege of running for Leukaemia UK to help fund the amazing work they do. We were so lucky with Jos's recovery, but we are also extremely aware that not every family has a happy ending and funding that research must continue.”

You can donate to Kenza's London Marathon 2018 challenge here

We thank Kenza and all her family and friends who are supporting her with her London Marathon efforts. The funds raised will helps us make a difference to families affected  by blood cancer.