Tanya Hill is running as part of Team Legend after receiving treatment on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Addenbrooke’s, following her leukaemia diagnosis in 2015. Now in remission, she’s taking on the challenge alongside her fiancé Brendon.
"I remember the morning of 1 December 2015 like it was yesterday. I woke up feeling positive and energetic. I was excited at the prospect of starting my job hunt straight after going to the gym, having recently finished my Masters degree. We were about to leave the house when I saw a voicemail from my GP. I was going to listen to it when we returned from the gym, but Brendon said it would be best to listen first, just in case. On returning the call, I was told my results were back from a routine blood test I’d had as part of treatment for acne. However, they said I needed to go straight to Addenbrooke’s hospital for a bone marrow biopsy. They were reluctant to give me more information over the phone, but I was confused so pushed to find out more, and eventually they told me that it was possible I had leukaemia. I’d not experienced any symptoms, so the news was completely out of the blue.
"The ride to the hospital and biopsy all seemed surreal, but I remember being sat on my hospital bed, surrounded by my family, Brendon, the Doctor and Nurse when they confirmed it. I went straight into ‘deal with it’ mode, smiling, telling everyone that we didn’t know how severe it really was, and that everything was going to be absolutely fine. Looking back, I was definitely in denial of what was happening. I went into treatment almost straight away, staying in my own room on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Addenbrooke’s hospital. Further on in my treatment I spent some time on a shared adult ward, which made me even more grateful for the support I received on the specialist unit. It was bright and colourful, I was allowed company but had privacy, and the staff were amazing. They were always happy and so friendly, making the time to get to know you.
"I’ll always be grateful to the staff. They went to an incredible effort to make sure that we could all spend half a day at home on Christmas day that year, giving us all our meds and treatments in the morning, to free up our time in the afternoon. They even gave us all little presents, and in many ways it was the most special Christmas I’ve ever had.
Over the following months I was in and out of hospital having treatments, resulting in having a stem cell transplant in June 2016. Due to having no immune system for the treatment, I was kept in isolation for my own safety so I wasn’t allowed to leave my room for about a month. I would’ve struggled so much more had it not been for the flexible visiting hours on Teenage Cancer Trust units, and being able to have someone stay the night on the fold-out bed next to me. I always had someone with me, whether it was my mum or dad or Brendon. I don’t think I spent a single night alone.
"In April 2017 I was given the news that I was finally in remission, which coincided with the announcement that Teenage Cancer Trust was the charity partner of the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon! I took it as a sign, and with permission from the doctors, applied for a charity place.
I’ve always enjoyed dancing, swimming, horse riding, but running has never been my strong point and this is my first ever marathon! However, training is going okay so far. I recently ran my first 5K in London (in the snow, no less), and I have a few 10K and half marathons booked in between now and the big day.
I’m lucky to be running with my fiancé Brendon. He raised money for Teenage Cancer Trust back in November 2016 when he ran Conwy Half Marathon alongside my best friend, Natalie. He’s showing me the ropes, and keeps me going when I want to stop! But I like to think we’re pushing each other really...
"I’m part of the Team Legend Facebook group, as well as a few other running groups on social media, and that’s really motivating too. It’s full of people from different backgrounds and abilities, chatting about their training plans and getting back into the swing of things after Christmas. It’s nice knowing that we may all be at different levels of training and have different abilities when it comes to running, but in the end, we’re all in it together!
"I believe that being on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit and receiving that amazing support enabled me to maintain a positive attitude towards my treatment, and my recovery. I can’t express how grateful I am, not just for the support I had, but that my family and Brendon had as well.