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Courageous half-marathon runner Alexander Mareschi shares his story of inspiration and strength

Publish Date: 20/5/2016

It’s safe to say the last few years have been difficult for Alexander Mareschi. The 28-year-old has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) twice and been in and out of hospital for treatment.

But he’s doing much better now, so much so that he took on the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon. Alexander had just returned from a trip to Europe when he received the surprising diagnosis in September, 2008. After months of gruelling chemotherapy, he was told he was in remission in 2009.

However, during a routine check-up in April 2012, his doctor delivered the devastating news that Alexander had relapsed. Trying to keep his mind and spirit positive, he went through various rounds of chemotherapy, some radiation and a bone marrow transplant.

Lucky for Alexander, his sister was a match. The following four years were trying as he developed Graft Versus Host Disease along with various other conditions and Alexander’s body was really put through the test.

Today, Alexander looks the picture of health. In much better condition, he and decided to take on the 21.1 kilometre Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon.

“I’ve never done any organised runs before and I’ve certainly never run this long a distance so it’ll be a challenge, but it’ll also be an exciting challenge to reach my fundraising goal for the Leukaemia Foundation”, he said.

Alexander’s initial fundraising goal was $5,000, but reaching that quickly, he raised it to $10,000. So far, he has raised an impressive $10,350! The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon was also a chance for Alexander reclaim his body.

“I refuse to let the leukaemia and transplant dictate what I can and cannot do,” said Alexander. “With the restrictions that I have, it may take me a little longer than the average person to complete certain tasks and goals but I've never had a ‘give up’ attitude.

"If I did, I wouldn't be alive and I wouldn't be here running The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon for the Leukaemia Foundation. This is my personal goal to prove that I am healthy and that my body can do things it could’ve done before I got cancer,” he said. 

Alexander’s family have been involved with the Leukaemia Foundation over the years, having hosted several fundraising activities, including the World’s Greatest Shave. His sister, who is a paramedic, is also a volunteer driver for the transport program on her days off, helping to take people diagnosed with a blood cancer to and from their medical appointments.

Having faced multiple hurdles, and trying to keep strong, Alexander has come a long way with the support of his family, friends and the Leukaemia Foundation and his official race time for the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon was 2 hours, 16 minutes and 55 seconds. Well done Alexander!

If you’d like to make a donation to Alexander, there’s still time.

Has Alexander inspired you to Get Your Blood Pumping for Blood Cancer? You can help the Leukaemia Foundation provide emotional and practical support for families struggling with a blood cancer diagnosis. Simply check out our range of exciting fundraising events and register yourself today. 

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