GEORGE NEWS - Nothing gets in the way of Simone Sharp. The 31-year-old, who has been plagued by severe diseases from a young age, completed a solo triathlon for her 31st birthday and raised funds for welfare in the process. She collected more than R26 000.
On her birthday, this brave lady - who is not an athlete - completed a 3,1km swim, a 31-mile cycle, followed by a 31km run in her own triathlon.
She decided to do this in celebration of the fact that she made it this far. "I had Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer) at 15 and was diagnosed with a life-threatening form of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (blood disorder) at 18. I've had many rounds of chemo, radiation and various operations and am fortunate to have conquered my illnesses," she says.
"I came out of it worse for wear in that I was overweight and unhealthy (but still smiling and positive). Through exercise, I have turned my life around and the lessons it has taught me, and the strength it has given me (far beyond physical strength), is something I feel passionate about sharing."
Because of the treatments used to cure her cancer and blood disorder, she also developed Avascular Necrosis in her shoulders and had to have a shoulder replacement. "I now have a titanium humeral head - thus the name Titanium triathlon."
She raised funds for the two foundations that are dear to her: Choc, the childhood cancer foundation that assists children with both cancer and life-threatening blood disorders, and the PDSA (people's dispensary for sick animals), which treats and cares for sick and injured animals whose owners cannot afford the cost of private veterinarians.
Sharp says the day of her triathlon was very hot. "It was quite challenging." The swimming and cycling was not as challenging as the jogging. "I was counting the last 10km of the jogging!" Still, she describes it as a wonderful experience.
She did not have a specific aim and vaguely hoped to collect a "few thousand rand". The money collected exceeded her expectations and she emphasises that it will be used for a good cause. "It means a lot to me to be able to help others," says this remarkable lady.
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