For the love of running

Lyna Mohamad

Nurul Munirah binti Miramid is a kidney transplant survivor who stays active and continues to do what she loves most – running.

“I want to share and motivate others who have undergone a kidney transplant that it is possible to engage in fitness activities after your surgery and it is good to do so. It helps you to stay fit and you can be proud that you are back on your feet again after a kidney transplant,” she said.

Due to her kidney problems, Munirah had to put her dreams of graduating from the Bachelor of Arts in Syariah programme at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) on hold. Munirah thanked her family and friends for supporting her decision.

She was initially diagnosed as having a normal fever, but the fever kept coming back and she began to lose appetite, felt weak and her body began to show signs of bloating, which she thought was due to pressure from her studies.

She went for another check-up and results showed that her blood count had dropped. She was rushed to the emergency unit at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital and was administered blood transfusion as she was too weak to move.

It was then that she was diagnosed with a kidney problem and had to undergo dialysis treatment.

Nurul Munirah binti Miramid participates in the full marathon in Kota Kinabalu. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD.

Initially, she was reluctant to go through with the treatment, but gave in after her mother’s words of advice and motivation.

At that time, she was still determined to finish her final year of studies. But the three times a week treatment began to tire her.

In university, she had juniors and classmates to help her walk up and down the stairs. However, one day, she was taken to the emergency unit and admitted to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) as she was unable to breathe properly.

It was the most difficult decision for her to leave university months before graduation, but her health condition gave her no other options.

Munirah promised herself that one day, she would go back and see that her dream of holding the academic scroll come true.

Miramid, Munirah’s father, voiced his intention to donate his kidney to his daughter and her mother as the second in line. Although doctors had asked for the mother to be tested first, as she was younger and her chances were much better, Miramid insisted that he wanted to donate his kidney to his daughter.

This, Munirah said, is because her father had intended to donate his kidney to his late mother but he didn’t get to as his mother passed away before he could even start doing the test and he believed that this could be Allah the Almighty’s plan.

Munirah’s transplant on July 6, 2017 was successful, and barely a year after, she decided to go back to her running activities, having been an avid runner and athlete since her primary school years. She put on her running shoes and attire, and began to prepare for a full marathon in Sabah.

While she initially intended to go for the half marathon, her doctor encouraged her to try the full 42km marathon but not to push too hard to finish and stop if she feels pain. She went for it in May last year and only managed up to cover 35km due to the cut-off time.

This year, she joined the same run challenge and completed the full marathon, garnering herself the full marathon medal.

“I was quite nervous before the marathon and could not sleep. I was also anxious of not being able to complete the marathon due to cut-off times. I am thankful to my friend Shahrun of for accompanying me to pass through the 35km cut-off time.”

Munirah also experienced a cramp at 38km but she fought on and pushed through all the way to 42km, completing the marathon and earning a medal.

During her participation in the 12km category of the Fire Fighter Run last month, Munirah clocked her best time after surgery, which was one hour and 30 minutes.

“So far that was my best time after my transplant. Insya Allah I will do better in my upcoming event. The Fire Fighter Run 2019 was a fun family time and my father also joined in the 3km fun run category. Some of my friends joined the run and cheered.”

The events she has participated since her transplant are: Borneo Marathon Kota Kinabalu 2017, 5km BGC Charity Walk, Run & Cycle 2018, 10km PUJA Run & Cycle, Borneo Marathon KK 2019 (42km), Run for Life 2019 (10km), Brunei Fire Fighter Run 2019 (12km) and World Heart Run (11km).

The World Heart Run was the most recent event she participated in, where she clocked one hour and 24 minutes, and she shared that it would be her last event for the year.

“I hope sharing my experiences will motivate other transplant patients to practice and engage in fitness activities to stay fit and healthy. For those who are going for their transplant surgery, always hydrate yourself, don’t miss taking your medicines and always keep yourself active to stay healthy and fit.”