Story Maarten van der Weijden
Maarten van der Weijden conquered leukaemia, and became an olympic champion on the 10 kilometres in 2008. He will go down in history as the Lance Armstrong of swimming. On the 12th of March 2001 acute lymphatic leukaemia was found on the Dutchman. As the only one of the room of eight patients in the Amsterdam hospital he conquered the severe illness. Maarten doesn’t see himself as the new Lance, and he is most grateful for the medical staff that helped him.
“The doctors – and not just the power of positive thinking and my love of sport – have saved me. It taught me to think step by step and be patient. When you are in so much pain lying in a hospital bed you aren’t thinking about the next month, but the next hour. This is the same strategy I use in the pack when we are racing and waiting my chance. Seven and a half years ago I was fighting leukaemia. Because of the stem cell transplant I received I had the luck to recover. So everyone who has donated money to cancer research in the past, I am extremely grateful to them. Maybe I wouldn’t be here otherwise”.
Below a quotation from another article:
BEJING – Maarten van der Weijden has caused a great scoop in Bejing. The 27-year old mathematician, who seven years ago still fought against leukaemia, won as the first swimmer the olympic ten kilometres open water in Bejing.
Van der Weijden had to fight with death seven years ago. Since the 12th of March, when the diagnosis leukaemia was made, the fighter in Van der Weijden arose. At the same time that after the ninth place on the ten kilometres during the WK in Hawaii (2000) a promising sports career seemed to be stored for him. No less than half a year he lied in hospital, a period in which he went through four courses of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. The immense and exceedingly strong body held out and since that time Van der Weijden is a real different person.
At the last WK in Sevilla Van der Weijden really broke through. He conquered on the 25 kilometres open water and finished fourth in the ten kilometres. As one of the favorites for olympic gold he travelled then to Bejing, Today he wrote history there. It seems only a matter of time before his remarkable life story becomes known all over the world and the other former cancer patient who became a great champion, Lance Armstrong, reports to him.
Source: de Telegraaf
Furthermore Maarten van der Weijden has been chosen to sportsman of the year on the 16th of December 2008. He announced then the end of his carreer. “Everything comes to an end. I have new dreams, new goals”. Van der Weijden was prefered to the two other nominated: skater Sven Kramer and cyclist Lars Boom. ,,I wanted to show the world whatever is possible after cancer”, the swimmer said who recovered from leukaemia, before he told to say goodbye to swimming.
Source: Nu.nl (quotation)
The story of Maarten (November 2008):