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Melda Ruiters SCTM CANSA Active Ambassador and Bone Marrow Transplant Survivor

Melda Ruiters is participating in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon as a CANSA Active Ambassador. Read her inspiring story below and support her efforts at the event.

My name is Melda Ruiters and I am a bone marrow transplant survivor.

Melda Ruiters

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 and 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 for six years now. To date my doctor still cannot believe how well I have recovered. I am still on chronic medication and still see my doctor every third month for regular blood tests.

Prior to being diagnosed with the multiple myeloma one of my biggest hobbies were 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, but today I am back on the road having completed three Two Oceans Half Marathons and one Cape Town Marathon after my bone marrow transplant.

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.

I joined the SATSA (South African Transplant Sports Association) group is 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.

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 patients 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!