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Rikako Ikee opens official website and says leukemia treatment 'proceeding smoothly'

Staff Report

Star Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee announced the opening of her official website on Wednesday, providing one of the most substantial updates to her status since she was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year.

In a message to fans published in English and Japanese, the 2018 Asian Games MVP wrote that she was using puzzles, coloring books and movies to pass the time during her treatment and hoped to be able to announce “good news” in the future.

“My medical treatment is proceeding smoothly,” wrote Ikee. “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.

“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.

While the Japan Swimming Federation has puts its support behind Ikee, it is unclear whether the 18-year-old will recover in time to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

While admitting to “sometimes (becoming) discouraged,” Ikee expressed solidarity with others battling the same condition.

“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,” Ikee wrote. “I will always keep in mind that I am not alone, and I would like you to do the same. We will persevere together.