02 Aug 2018

Kenza: I learned leukaemia can affect anyone

Kenza completed this year’s London Marathon for Leukaemia UK after her brother Jos was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 17

Kenza had to deal with snow, rain and freezing temperatures during training, then faced scorching temperatures in the race itself, which was the hottest in the event’s history.

She told us: “I had the most amazing experience running for Leukaemia UK! Taking on a marathon is tough anyway, but doing it in the year with the worst weather for training and then it being the hottest marathon certainly didn’t help!

“The charity has been so supportive throughout and the work they do has truly inspired me to keep going and push to raise as much as I could.

“I was so honoured that Angela came to speak at my fundraising evening and it really bought home the message about what the charity is there for.

“We count our lucky stars that Jos is a survivor and will never forget that not everyone has a happy ending. It was a privilege to run for Leukaemia UK not only to raise money but also awareness of the important work they do.”

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 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 chemotherapy and blood transfusions, Jos went into remission where he has remained.

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.

Kenza has raised more than £3,000 so far, and is still collecting money for Leukaemia UK through her fundraising page. Blister Sister runners contributed generously to her fundraising and she offered 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.

Kenza added: “I’m so pleased to have had the privilege of running for Leukaemia UK to help fund the amazing work they do.”

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

If you wish to take part in a fundraising event for Leukaemia UK, visit our fundraising events and challenges page.

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