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Melda Ruiters – Bone Marrow Transplant Survivor and Absa RUN YOUR CITY Champion

Melda Ruiters is participating in the  Absa RUN YOUR CITY Cape Town 10K on 12 May 2024. Read her inspiring story below:

My name is Melda Ruiters, I am a bone marrow transplant survivor and currently 7 and a half years in remission.

In January 2016 I was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma. I was on chemotherapy, once a week for eight months, when I went into heart failure, my kidneys weren’t functioning properly and I had double pneumonia.

My doctor then decided to board me from work as things weren’t looking good at the time. September 2016 I underwent a bone marrow transplant at Netcare Kuilsriver Hospital. I recovered and I am in remission. To date my doctor still cannot believe how well I have recovered. I am still on chronic medication and see my doctor every third month for regular blood tests.

Prior to being diagnosed with the multiple myeloma one of my biggest hobbies was road running. I took part in numerous marathons, half marathons and 10km races in various provinces. In 2015 I entered for the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon (56km) however, I couldn’t run the race due to health issues.  I am back on the road having completed four Two Oceans Half Marathons and one Cape Town Marathon after my bone marrow transplant. In 2024 I participated in my 8th Two Oceans Half Marathon. I have completed 4 FNB Cape Town 12 events and  this year will be my 2nd Absa RUN YOUR CITY Cape Town 10K.

I joined the SATSA (South African Transplant Sports Association) group, which is a non-profit organisation, in February 2017 as a bone marrow transplant recipient. In July 2022 I got the opportunity to participate in the National Transplant Games which was held in Gqeberha. I took part in the 5km road race as well as the 3km power walk. I qualified at the Games for the 3km power walk and I felt honoured and humbled to be part of the South African Transplant Team that  participated in the World Transplant Games that took place in Perth Australia in April 2023.

I am also a proud mom of two children who are also very active participating in various sporting events. My son Dillon has completed seven  Cape Town Cycle Tours and one Ironman and my daughter Tamsin has participated in a few marathons,  one Cape Town Cycle Tour, Tri-athlons and one Ironman 70.3. I am truly grateful for the gift of life and having a second chance in life making use of every opportunity to live my life to the fullest. Although I have my on and off days,  being able to open my eyes each day is a blessing.

Before I had cancer it was all about improving my time. Today I am just happy to be able to run for a cause that matters – I run for CANSA, because I am still able to make a difference through my running.

My advice to cancer Survivors is to not give up or stop believing. There is always hope beyond what you see. It is important to have a positive mindset and to connect with others. Make beautiful memories while you can!

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