Running for a cancer-free future

Wednesday 23 March, 2022

Ridma runs for her “miracle baby”, Dion. 

The expectant mother was 12 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma in 2015. 

When she found out she had cancer, it was the worst day of her life. 

“I was 12 weeks pregnant when I noticed that I had yellowish eyes and my skin tone had changed. I’d been vomiting and been unable to eat a lot,” Ridma said. 

“I was advised to go to the hospital and do some tests. 

“After going through numerous tests including a bone marrow biopsy, I was told the news that I had lymphoma – and an aggressive one at that which I had to go through aggressive treatments, but the doctors had to take precaution because of the unborn baby. 

“While all this was going on, we were constantly checking on our unborn baby,” Ridma added. 

Whilst undergoing chemotherapy treatment, Ridma said the doctors advised her to keep the baby inside for as long as she could.

“However, at about 26 weeks, we were told he had developed hydrops – a condition where there is an accumulation of excessive fluid – and it could spread to his brain,” Ridma continued. 

“Two of the top surgeons at the hospital said our baby had to be terminated because we didn’t have the facilities here in Australia to treat him, but there may be the option of going to America to do it.

“They left us to decide. The baby was part of me, but my family was convincing me to do as much as I can to survive first then worry about the baby later.

“Thankfully, we didn’t have to worry for too long about the baby. 

“Thanks to divine intervention, on the 6th of October 2015, our miracle boy was born. He was 10 weeks early, and 1.3 Kgs and 41cms, but we didn’t care. This was a ray of sunshine during a terrible stretch of misfortune and agony. We named him Dion.” 

Now, almost every afternoon, Ridma, her husband, so Dion and their puppy, love to go for a walk or a run, and to be active. 

Since 2018, Ridma has taken part in Run Melbourne every year to raise funds for Cancer Council and for other expectant mothers that need to go through what she went through. 

“As I was pregnant, my doctors gave me prescribed medicines based off the research that was funded by the Cancer Council. 

“I also used the information booklets I found on Cancer Council’s website, which I found very useful,” Ridma said. 

 “There are so many people we know who have been touched by cancer. Cancer Council Victoria is funding vital research and challenging this deadly disease.  

 “If we support Cancer Council, we might be able to survive all of this together.” 

Ridma is still cancer-free and goes in for check-ups once every six months. 

She will be taking part in this year’s 2022 Run Melbourne in July. 

“I still get nervous whenever I feel unwell, however, I feel much better and stronger because of what I have gone through,” Ridma added. 

Want to make a real difference to the more than 33,000 Victorians diagnosed with cancer each year? 

Register for Run Melbourne to join the team, select your distance, and start making a difference.

Running through the pain barrier for a cancer-free future

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Celina is second from the left

A knee injury wasn’t going to stop Celina Driscoll from running for a beloved family member whose life got cut short due to cancer. 

Celina’s uncle Bill passed away from stage four stomach cancer, just four months after being diagnosed. He was only 57-years-old. 

“By the time they found it, it had moved to other parts of his body,” Celina said. 

“They found it in his spine, in his bones, and in his liver and lungs.” 

Celina, now 25, loves to run. 

She has always loved physical activity and running has always been a part of that. 

“I have run in 10km runs before but lately I have wanted to take part for a worthwhile reason,” Celina said.  

“When my uncle got diagnosed with cancer running for a cause made sense.” 

Celina signed-up to the 2021 Run Melbourne virtual event but suffered a painful knee injury beforehand.

“I couldn’t really run, but my uncle was my motivation,” Celina said. 

“I just wanted to do something to show my support, apart from being with him, because that wasn’t possible.

“Not being able to see him whilst we were in lockdown was incredibly hard.

“In just three months, he went from building an incredible home with his bare hands to lying in a hospital bed guessing which day was going to be his last,” Celina said. 

“I suddenly became aware how cancer can change one’s life so quickly so I wanted to help anyone I could that’s been touched by cancer by raising money,” Celina added.

Bill passed away in June 2021.

Celina said she chose Cancer Council Victoria to fundraise for because she was impressed by Cancer Council’s innovative work in cancer research, prevention, and support.

She raised close to $2000 for Cancer Council during last year’s event. 

“Cancer Council Victoria have a soft spot in my heart now,” Celina said. 

“I wouldn’t raise money for anyone else.

“It’s not hard to fundraise. Even if you get someone to donate just $5 or $10 that’s going to make a world of difference.” 

Want to make a real difference to the more than 33,000 Victorians diagnosed with cancer each year? 

Register for Run Melbourne to join the team, select your distance, and start making a difference.

Running through the pain barrier for a cancer-free future

Register now