I have only gone and signed up for the Cardiff Half Marathon in October! I must be mad but have an inspiring charity close to my heart giving me the fight to train hard and run the full 13.1 miles.

December 18th 2000 is a date that will never ever leave my mind as at the age of 16 I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia in UHW. I was told at the time if I hadnt gone for a simple blood test when I did I wouldn't be here today to tell my story. When I received my diagnosis I had never heard of Aplastic Anaemia before and never knew the struggle myself or my family would face. A bone marrow transplant was key to my survival but unfortunately I had a very rare type of bone marrow making this impossible. Instead I spent months and months in a hospital bed having transfusions and various other treatment plans put in place. My family were restricted with visits and would have to gown up in protective gear in order to limit infections.

My first round of treatment failed which meant more tests, more time in hospital and more strain on my family, friends and my mental state. I had a hickman line put in to give me direct treatment and antibiotics that caused numerous infections and Picc line in the arm that caused blood clots. The second round of treatment however was a success and I got to continue living my life.

Over the past 18 1/2 years I have suffered a few setbacks and relapses due to the nature of Aplastic Anaemia and the fact that the cause of mine was never known. Medication controlling my Arthritis caused a relapse and having my daughter created complications, but I am still here all these years later living life to the full and taking nothing for granted.

My family and friends plus all the doctors and nurses in UHW have been the biggest influence in my recovery and for my family to put their lives on hold to help me, makes me eternally grateful.

Please if you can spare a few pennies to help me fundraise for the AAT charity, for the fight against Aplastic Anaemia and make this illness more renowned I will be forever grateful. Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my story and help me 😊.

Rachal Jones