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13 November 2014

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Great North Run - your stories

You are in: Tyne > Great North Run > Great North Run - your stories > Kiwis on the run

Ben Macdonald

Ben moved to Newcastle from New Zealand

Kiwis on the run

Ben Macdonald is taking part in the 2008 Great North Run with friends to raise money for Leukaemia Research, after being diagnosed in 2001.

I am from New Zealand and have lived in the UK for over seven years. I lived in Newcastle upon Tyne for the first three of these.

After living in Newcastle only nine months I was suddenly diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at the age of 24.

Runner and official at the finish

People run for many causes

There was no time to spare and no way to get home for treatment, so I was admitted immediately to the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Although I couldn't have been further from home when I was diagnosed, I also couldn't have found a better place to be treated.

The nurses and doctors at the hospital were absolutely amazing and really made the difference with their experience and care.

I also had unforgettable support from all of my friends and work colleagues right from the start. With a team like that behind you it is hard to believe you can fail.

My parents even relocated halfway around the world from New Zealand to the North East so they could be with me throughout the treatment. I guess they grew to enjoy the region as much as I do - in fact they still live there now!

Team effort

I have to say the treatment was not the most pleasant experience at times - I was in and out of the hospital for six months and then treated as an outpatient for another couple of years after that.

Ben Macdonald and friends

Rowan M, Ben, Rowan L and Duncan

But it was certainly worth it. I am extremely glad to say that after almost seven years I am still in good health, in fact, after training for the Great North Run, I am the fittest I have been in a long time!

This year, we have a team of five Kiwis running to raise money for Leukaemia Research - myself, Duncan Toy, Oli Christiansen, Rowan Leahy and Rowan Marshall.

Four of us have never run anything like this in our lives – I have never been a big runner and for a moment I wondered if I had had one too many pints when I agreed to do it!

But our training has been going well and I would have to say I am even enjoying it.

Come 5 October we all look forward to taking part in this magnificent event and showing our support for a fantastic cause – it's Business Time!

Visit the team's Justgiving page here:

last updated: 02/10/2008 at 09:21
created: 16/09/2008

You are in: Tyne > Great North Run > Great North Run - your stories > Kiwis on the run

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