In her own words, Susan Kelly is 'lucky to be alive' after being diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disorder during her first pregnancy back in 2008.

She was given a lifesaving bone marrow transplant from her brother David which ultimately saved her life.

Speaking about her illness Susan said: “At the time I was blood transfusion dependent for survival, and I couldn’t get up the stairs without being on all fours and would have to use a mobility scooter to get around the shops.

“It is fair to say that I would not be here without my little brother’s stem cell donation and the help and support that the Aplastic Anaemia Trust provide in not only being a 'shoulder to cry on' and a source of information but also funding crucial research and specialist nursing care.

"To this day the nurse specialist remains my security blanket and is always there to reassure.”

Aplastic anaemia (AA) is a rare but life-threatening blood disorder, where the bone marrow fails to produce essential blood cells.

Few people know about it even though it is as common as some types of leukaemia and the disease can be just as devastating.

Now with the support of her husband Mark, 12-year-old son Ciaran and best friend and work colleague Joanna, Susan is a seasoned obstacle race competitor and has already tackled a number of adrenaline-fuelled obstacle events to celebrate beating the disease with more planned events to come later this year.

Susan, 43, who lives in Fairford and is a Chartered Management Accountant said: “When you are given a second chance, after facing death in the face, you grab it by the horns.

"So to make up for my inability to even walk the shortest of distances or even have the energy to stand at a cooker to prepare meals, I am now living a full active life and to show Aplastic Anaemia who is boss, I have been facing my toughest ever physical feats.”

Speaking about how she first got into obstacle racing Susan said: “I joined Matt Glover’s bootcamp in June 2016 in Swindon, plucking up the courage to go along with my colleague, Joanna Barnwell.

"A few people within the group, including our instructor, were competing in OCRs.”

“As they discussed them in that first year, I used to slowly walk away thinking I would never be fit enough to undertake an OCR and what a bunch of ‘nut cases’ they were.

"Eventually in 2017, a group of us were talked into doing an OCR event and completing it was amazing, I was left wanting more.”

Susan and best friend Joanna decided to volunteer at the Spartan Windsor Beast in October 2017 to see what it was all about.

They were sold on the idea and decided to enter a race themselves and the pair haven’t looked back since.

Susan said: “In 2018 I was celebrating 10 years post-transplant, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to raise money for the Aplastic Anaemia Trust who had helped me pre, during and post-transplant.

"In order to help us train for Trifecta and to encourage donations, we, Joanna and I, decided to add more events into the mix.”

“Our first Spartan race was at Aston Down Super in June 2018, we then went on to do the Sprint in July 2018 at Marston Lodge and the Beast at Windsor in October 2018.”

The trio of events meant the pair had completed a Trifecta of Spartan events and they successfully raised £1,000 for the AA charity.

“This year, 2019, we have done two Spartan Sprints and two super races, racing both days at Aston Down and at Marston Lodge," she continued.

"We are registered to race the Perth Beast in September and the Windsor Beast in October.”

“Prior to my diagnosis, my exercise focused around the gym, occasional step-aerobics, scuba diving and occasional cycling on cycling holidays.

“Now l do a mix of gym focusing on strength exercises, spinning classes, core class, bootcamp, PT training and running. I usually train four to five times a week.”

“I would love to go to Spartan Iceland and try out some other events across Europe, Morzine would be amazing.

"Doing an event in the USA would be great but I’m not sure I can justify the expense of getting out there just for a race!

"Hopefully there will be an opportunity to take part in more than two Trifecta's in the UK in the next few years.”