Ikee Says Leukemia Treatment ‘Thousand Times Harder Than I Thought’

by Retta Race 7

March 06th, 2019 Asia, International, Lifestyle, News

Japanese swimming superstar Rikako Ikee has posted her first social media message since beginning treatment for leukemia, a disease for which she recently revealed her diagnosis at just 18 years of age.

“It’s tens of times, several hundred times, several thousand times harder than I thought,” she wrote on Twitter. “I haven’t eaten in more than three days. But I don’t want to lose.”

The first-ever female Asian Games MVP first revealed her diagnosis at the end of February. Ikee had been in Australia training alongside Brit Alys Thomas and Aussie Emma McKeon, but apparently cut that camp short and returned to Japan when the leukemia diagnosis was discovered. Her coach Jiro Miki said Ikee appeared to be fatigued and he said he ‘had never seen her breathing as heavily as that’ while training down under.

Ikee was poised to take multiple titles at this April’s Japanese Championships, the qualifying meet for the 2019 FINA World Championships. However, she will instead be continuing treatment. Her exact type of leukemia has not been made known to the public.

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I really hope she gets better.

The Ready Room

Wow. This sounds brutal. She’s obviously quite stoic and composed, but one can only imagine the hell she’s going through…

The swimming community has her back and I’m touched by the amount of support I’ve seen thrown her way. Looking forward to seeing her cancer free and moving forward with her life again.


The title of this article should be that “she doesn’t want to lose” not that it is a thousand times harder than she thought. What a depressing title.


That’s the reality of cancer. I appreciate her brutal honesty.


Thank you for your posting. This poor thing is facing the life threatening merciless disease. And all tragedy in her statement isn’t in describing the hardship of the treatment but in this “I don’t want to lose”. She is a child basically who just only started to live. More sensitive and less sensational reporting will be more appropriate.

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