On March 2nd I will be across the Tasman embarking on my biggest and scariest personal running challenge yet, in an event suitably titled “Gone Nuts 101”. Gone Nuts is an adventure run which will see me traverse from Stanley to Wynyard (North West Tasmania) across rocks, oyster beds, beach, rain forest, and farm land – running a total of 101kms in a day - hopefully without having to navigate for too many hours in the dark!
Personal achievement aside the reason I chose this run is to run for someone very close to us - Vienna Savaris – daughter of our good friends Fi and Jonny.
When Vienna said I was the coolest Mum of all of us as I was so healthy and fit with all the running that I do, enthusiastically agreed to by her younger brother Luca (wow #fansforlife), I wanted to set myself a big challenge in Vienna’s honour and help raise some funds (as well as give their friends an opportunity to help) and support a family who are going through a very challenging and difficult period in their lives right now.
In June 2018 Vienna was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma called Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) in June 2018.
Prior to her illness Vienna was a happy and healthy 11 year old who loved netball, gymnastics, reading books and going to school. Following her diagnosis Vienna endured an intensive six rounds of chemotherapy which made her very unwell. She lost her beloved long hair and missed most of her Grade 6 year. Her family was told while her cancer was aggressive it was also very responsive to treatment and they were relieved when they were told she was in full remission in November 2018 and could head away with us and other families on our annual NSW trip. Sadly this was not to be.
Unfortunately her remission was very short lived and she became unwell just six weeks after the initial remission. Following another full round of tests including biopsies and scans Vienna and her family were devastated to learn her ALCL had returned and she had also developed a secondary disease called HLH affecting her bone marrow. She is currently having intensive chemotherapy to try to push her ALCL back into remission again to prepare her for a bone marrow transplant.
Vienna was due to start year 7 this year, but unfortunately is in hospital fighting infection, and awaiting donor match for her transplant instead. Once she has the transplant she will be hospital for 6 weeks and will be in total isolation for 100 days post-transplant to avoid any infection. There are some special items Vienna would like during this isolation period like a Virtual reality set to see the outside world and a design tablet for artwork to help fill the days. Hopefully with your support we will be able to buy her these things. In addition to Vienna’s illness, her Dad was also recently made redundant from his job so any extra financial help would really be appreciated. All donations go direct to the family.
My trusty support team – Tim and the kids – will be coming with me to cheer me on and provide updates, and my good friend Anna from Hobart will be coming up to help crew for me and run with me when things get tough. It’s not going to be easy, but I know that thinking about Vienna and how brave she is and the fight she continues to have will help get me through.