A women from Leeds is to take part in her first ever run just weeks after being told she is negative for the hepatitis C virus.
Maria Loptyn will take part in the annual Jane Tomlinson 10 kilometre event across Leeds city centre.
Maria said: “I’m a little nervous. I’ve cheered on friends at runs in the past and I know from their experience it will give me a sense of achievement. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.”
Living with hepatitis C, as the years went by Maria found herself feeling constantly exhausted.
“I didn’t allow hepatitis C to stop me from anything,” Maria adds.
“The hardest thing was not to be able work as hard as I wanted to because of how tired I felt. Being an active person, I couldn’t have lived like that until the end of my days.”
Whilst on ribavirin and boceprevir treatment, Maria lost some of her hair. To support Maria through treatment and to show her that having hair did not matter, a friend donated their own hair to the Prince’s Trust which was made into a wig for young children.
Maria says “I didn’t realise how vain I was. Her actions inspired me and made me realise I could do more.”
On treatment having contemplated never having the energy to take part in events like a 10k run, Maria feels the time is right to make the most of this second chance in life and raise awareness about hepatitis C at the same time.
“When I was diagnosed I told everybody. I was surprised that nobody talks about hepatitis C, I wasn’t aware of the stigma that is attached or how little people know about the virus.
“The main thing for me is to raise awareness and to break down some of the stereotypes that surround the virus. If my actions can help just one person I’ll be happy.”
In May 2014 Maria was told that at six months post treatment she was negative for the virus, achieving sustained viral response (SVR). She says: “I feel amazing, invincible, I’m a super woman, I’ve done it and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Maria will run Jane Tomlinson’s 10k in Leeds on Sunday 20th July. Support Maria here: https://www.justgiving.com/Maria-Lopatyn/