Survivor taking giant strides in bid to get back to a normal life

IN 12 weeks Alicia Sims will attempt to run five kilometres, in what she hopes will mark a return to normal life.

The Spreyton woman was 24 years old and had just bought a house with her long-term boyfriend when she learned she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in June 2012.

Within a week Ms Sims, now 26, was at Launceston General Hospital for chemotherapy treatment, where she remained for 60 days.

"There's no way really to describe it, it was just awful," Ms Sims said.

"But the whole way through I maintained a positive attitude and I really believe that's what got me through it."

Ms Sims said that after six months of treatment in Launceston she flew to Melbourne for a week of full-body radiation and a bone marrow transplant in December 2012.

She said the urgency of her treatment meant she had to quit her job right away, and didn't have time to freeze her eggs.

"I'm no longer able to have children, which is a real kick in the teeth because I don't have any yet, but there are other options out there," Ms Sims said.

She said she spent 100 days in hospital in Melbourne following the transplant, finally returning home in April 2013.

But Ms Sims, who is in long-term remission, said it hadn't been easy adjusting to her new life.

"I haven't been able to return to full-time work. I can manage three days a week but it has to be a laid- back position," she said.

She hopes a new Leukaemia Foundation program, Jumpstart Launceston, will help her adjust.

Ms Sims is one of 10 blood cancer survivors taking the free three- month program, in which a dietitian and exercise physiologist personally tailor a plan to help them reach their goals.

"The exercise physiologist set a strength and cardio program for me, and my goal at the moment is to be able to run five kilometres in 12 weeks," Ms Sims said.

"It is a big ask but I think I can do it.

"It's a way for me to get back to a new sense of normal, and get my fitness levels back to an acceptable level where I can actually do things without getting too tired."

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