With only a few days remaining until the Merrell Adventure Addicts depart for Costa Rica to compete in the Adventure Racing World Championships, the team has been reminded of just how fickle life can be. On Monday the team received the terrible news that team strongman, Donovan Sims, had been diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia.
The experienced and established Addicts team of Graham Bird, Donovan Sims, Hanno Smit and Susan Carter-Brown are scheduled to jet into San Josè, Costa Rica on Wed, 27th November to begin the final gear checking, packing and check in’s before the start on the 2nd December.
The Champs has attracted 65, mixed gender teams from all over the World, who will traverse the length and breadth of Costa Rica on the 800km+ course. It is expected to take the lead teams over 5 non stop days to complete, with the back teams expected to take over 9 days. “As a team we have focused our year on this event.” Team Captain, Graham Bird. “Don, as
always has been like an excited kid and he has been looking forward to this more than anyone can imagine. It is a race that is designed for hard men like him. The harder the better.”
On Monday morning, Donovan received the diagnosis of Hairy Cell Leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. His treatment sessions are scheduled to start on Friday, 22nd November. “In a matter of seconds he had to shift his focus from preparing for a World Championships to battling this devastating disease that hits so many people worldwide.” Says Graham Bird. “Don’s attitude and mental strength this whole week has been inspirational and I have no doubt that he will pull through this toughest of challenges just like he as pulled us all through tough races in the past.”
The evergreen Cattle Farmer from Ixopo, Craig Carter-Brown has once again been drafted into the Addicts team at the last moment. Having subbed for Hanno Smit in May 2012 and Graham Bird in May 2013, Craig is an Addict’s regular and fits in well with the team dynamic. Like Donovan, Craig is as hard as they come and has an all-round strength in trekking, mountain biking and paddling. The team change has added a unique dynamic to the team, as Craig’s sister, Susan joined the team in August. Though both are terribly sad and devastated about the news of Donovan, they are excited to be racing together on the World Stage. “We hoping that some juicy family secrets will emerge as the sleep monsters kick in” commented Graham Bird.