It?s full speed ahead for Rob
By MEL MARTIN
ROB Gale doesn't run from adversity, he takes adversity and runs with it . . . all the way to the City to Surf.
And this year, he is hoping to beat last year's performance when he completed Sydney's famous 14-kilometre race in just over 75 minutes.
"This was a huge milestone for me," Mr Gale said.
"But this year, I'm hoping to get under 70 minutes, mid-60s would be good."
And that's no mean feat for someone who only four years ago was receiving a bone marrow transplant after years of illness.
In 1999, Mr Gale was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called myelofibrosis (scarring of the bone marrow), which remained a chronic condition until 2002 when it morphed into acute myloid leukaemia.
"I had to have my spleen removed as it had reached a very uncomfortable seven kilos and could have ruptured any time," Mr Gale said.
His doctor then announced Mr Gale would need a bone marrow transplant, with only a month to recover from the removal of his spleen before the transplant.
"I wasn't ready for it," Mr Gale.
"To start with I hadn't registered the full extent of how bad it was, but when I worked out my life expectancy would not be very long without the transplant, it really hit.
"My wife did a teaching degree to prepare for the possibility of me not being around."
At that point, Mr Gale says people began rallying behind him to help him and his family through a very difficult time.
"Our family had so much support during this time, and we feel very blessed, indeed," he said.
"My sister donated her bone marrow, which was a perfect match.
"We had friends sharing the responsibility of looking after our children for nine weeks while I was in treatment.
"And the Leukaemia Foundation were fantastic, providing us accommodation, transport and the care that is so important when going through major surgery."
So this year, apart from being a personal achievement, Mr Gale's City to Surf run has a single purpose ? to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation.
"Last year was to make sure I could actually run the race. This year, it's to give something back to an organisation that did so much for us.
"Because I'm one of the lucky ones."
n To make a donation to the Leukaemia Foundation, visit www.leukaemia.org.au and click on 'Supporters' then look under events for Mr Gale's fundraising run or call Sally Felton-Taylor on 1800 620 420. Or you can view Mr Gale's web blog on robs-leukaemia.blogspot.com.