Last year Delvene Kramer was diagnosed with an auto immune disease (ulcerative colitis) while she was 26 weeks pregnant. It was a tumultuous time with days spent in hospital, her body weakening and losing muscle, and enduring the constant worry about how the medication may affect her unborn baby; but in early October Delvene and partner Joel Pollock were delighted to welcome a healthy baby girl, Thea.
Now nine months on and having adjusted to motherhood, Delvene is working to regain her strength, signing up to this weekend’s Run Townsville — a fundraiser for the Townsville Hospital Foundation — as a way to challenge herself physically, but also to support a cause that is so close to her heart. Here Delvene tells us about her journey and how she’s feeling ahead of her biggest fitness challenge to-date.
“I feel stronger in body and mind and getting involved with Run Townsville has helped me take the leap forward in the right direction.”
What happened last year when were diagnosed? Due to the uncommon occurrence of my diagnosis during pregnancy and the lack of medical information available, there was no way of knowing how the treatment would affect my unborn baby. I spent 12 days at Townsville Hospital and was on a high quantity of medications and IV treatments, and I also had infliximab treatment which is a biotherapy drug. The only other option if the meds didn’t work was surgery which would have meant an early delivery of my little one before the third trimester — thankfully it didn’t come to that.
Through all of this Thea stayed strong and kept fighting on. The treatment knocked me about a lot — I had to resign from my job and get used to taking daily medication, plus come to terms with an illness that will be with me for the rest of my life. However, my main concern and priority was my little growing baby. I lost most of my muscle and did not gain any further weight during the rest of my pregnancy.
But on October 1 (2015) I gave birth to my beautiful, happy and full-of-life little girl. She has been unable to have live vaccines due to the infliximab treatment possibly crossing the placental barrier and weakening her immune system, but she’s as happy and cheeky as ever. More recently I have had pancreatitis, which resulted in another trip to hospital, but Thea was allowed to come with me.
Why are you doing Run Townsville? So I can show that I am still strong and I can overcome my health challenges but — more importantly — I’m doing this for my little girl and all those amazing babies and kids who face challenges but are still smiling every day.
You’re doing the 6km event, which will be your biggest fitness achievement to-date — how are you feeling in the lead-up mentally? I feel good — I’m just so happy to be able to give it a go. I know I will get nervous towards the end the week, but I’m just so grateful that I feel healthy enough to run and I’m well supported and motivated to do it.
Do you still have challenges now? Yes, I have my bad days and setbacks, but I’m determined not to get stuck in the rut — not for long periods anyway.
Will you be thinking of Thea (and the kids in hospital) when you are doing the run? Oh my gosh, yes. I think of her when I’m tackling anything — I have to — she keeps me going. I will definitely be thinking of all the kiddies — that’s what we will be there for and what better way to stay motivated then those little faces.
Has signing up to Run Townsville given you extra motivation to build your fitness? I feel stronger in body and mind and getting involved with Run Townsville has helped me take the leap forward in the right direction. I have my fitness again because I’ve had Run Townsville to work towards and look forward to.
What would you say to others who are thinking about doing the 6km or 12km and doubting their ability? Your body won’t give up on you, everyone that is there on the day will be there to support you. Get out and do it and be proud of your strengths and achievements!
How important is it to support this cause? These little champions never wake up and think “I can’t do this” — they greet every day with endless optimism and strength. To have an ounce of their courage would get anyone over the line. They need it and I can’t see or feel any reason for anyone not to support the cause.
Run Townsville gives you the opportunity to run, walk or roll the Riverway precinct on Sunday, July 17 with a 6km and 12km scenic courses to choose from. This year there is also plenty of on-course entertainment including interactive stalls, rides and fun activities for the kids, plus an exclusive performance by headline act, Samantha Jade. There’s also a 1km option for the littlest runners. All funds (100%) go towards the redevelopment of the children’s ward at Townsville Hospital. Find out more and register here: http://www.runaustralia.com.au/run-townsville/.