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Messages of support pour in for swimmer Ikee after leukemia diagnosis

Words of encouragement poured in for Japanese swimming star Rikako Ikee on Tuesday after she revealed she had been diagnosed with leukemia.
Ikee, an 18-year-old Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medal hopeful who became the first female athlete to be named MVP at the 2018 Asian Games, is now hospitalized and doctors believe her cancer is at an early stage.
"I too am undergoing treatment for leukemia right now and received an umbilical cord blood transplant today," wrote Twitter user @piyopiyotan.
"There may be many tough moments down the road, but there are also lots and lots of people out there who share and understand your feelings...so let's get through this together! I'm rooting for you!"
Twitter user @monarabi wrote, "I was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia when I was 6 years old. Bone puncture hurts and taking medicine is tough but I fought with the determination to conquer the disease...With your inner strength, I'm sure you can overcome it. Keep your spirits up!"
Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjostrom, a Rio de Janeiro Olympic gold medalist, said on her Instagram account, "My eyes are filled with tears when I read the news about my friend @ikee.rikako being diagnosed with leukaemia."
"Sending all my strength and love to you!" Sjostrom added, with a photo of Ikee and Sjostrom swimming together. The two trained together in Turkey last fall.
Ken Watanabe, a Japanese actor and leukemia survivor, also posted a message of sympathy on his Twitter account.
"I had the same disease. I think you may be feeling desperate like 'Why me?'" wrote Watanabe, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 1989.
"Although I know little about the situation surrounding you, I hope you will look forward and take your time getting treatment, believing in today's medicine and your vital force," Watanabe said.
The Japan marrow donor registry promotion conference posted a message on its website, saying, "There are various treatments established for leukemia. We hope you will obtain correct information about the disease, receive satisfactory treatment for your future and recover as early as possible."
Fellow swimmer Yasuhiro Koseki, who won three individual gold medals at the Asian Games in Indonesia last year, said, "I'm speechless," when asked about Ikee.
Japan Sports Agency chief Daichi Suzuki, a former Olympic swimmer who won a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Games, said, "Her recovery should be prioritized, with sufficient medical treatment."
Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike also expressed her surprise, saying, "I wish the diagnosis was proven wrong."
"As a Tokyo native, Ms Ikee has helped us in various events. We will keep rooting for her and wait in anticipation" for her comeback, Koike said.


© KYODO
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