Photo/IllutrationThis photo of Rikako Ikee during competition graces the top page of the swimmer's new official website set up on May 8. (Captured from Rikako Ikee official website)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Teen swimming sensation Rikako Ikee said her leukemia treatment is going well in a post on her new official website, which debuted on May 8.

Ikee thanked her fans for their support and said that although there have been times during her treatment when she felt her heart was being torn apart, their messages helped her get through them.

The 18-year-old vowed not to give in to the illness, and said she hopes she will soon have good news about her condition as so many people are eagerly awaiting her sports comeback.

Ikee abruptly revealed on her Twitter account in February that she had been diagnosed with leukemia, sending shock waves across Japan and the sports world.

The swimmer, who won a record six gold medals at the Asian Games in Jakarta last summer, has been forced to put her sports career on hold to concentrate on treatment.

Since her announcement, Ikee has been posting messages to encourage Japan’s national swim team on her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

In her latest message since tweets she posted in February, Ikee says when she feels good she enjoys coloring, doing puzzles and watching movies, which she couldn’t do when she was consumed with swimming.

Ikee said she will share information about her battle with the disease and other topics on the site, which also features a photo gallery of uplifting images of the star flashing her dazzling smile.

Those who want to encourage Ikee can send messages to the official website at (https://www.rikako-ikee.jp/).

Ikee’s original message, released on May 8 on her official website, is as follows:

* * * * *

To my supporters,

I am very appreciative of all the encouraging messages and letters I have received. Thank you so much.

My medical treatment is proceeding smoothly. My recent life, when my physical condition permits, has given me the opportunity to enjoy things that I was not able to do when I was swimming, such as enjoying coloring books and puzzles, and watching movies. When I look outside every day, I imagine how wonderful it will be to feel the fresh breeze of the season and to get wet in the rain.

These are some of the things I look forward to doing after I am released from hospital. I expect this will be a prolonged period of hospitalization and treatment, however, I will stay positive by thinking about what I would like to accomplish and what I will be enjoying in the days to come.

Honestly speaking, I sometimes become discouraged. However, I feel a surge of gratitude as a result of all the encouraging words I have received, and I promise myself I will not be defeated and will endure until I am able to overcome my illness.

I would like to believe that I now understand, although maybe not fully, how athletes and those with the same illness or condition as myself feel. I will always keep in mind that I am not alone, and I would like you to do the same. We will persevere together.

I will try my best to be able to announce good news as soon as possible to everyone waiting for me to return. I am so appreciative of your continued support. Thank you.

May 8, 2019, Rikako Ikee