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Unbreakable

Former teacher, 36, survives brain tumor, breaks Atlantic solo-rowing record

March 23, 2018

Just eight months after undergoing brain surgery, Kiko Matthews, a 36-year-old former science teacher from Herefordshire, England, has become the fastest woman to ever row solo across the Atlantic. Matthews, who was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease in 2009, beat the previous record by nearly a week despite never having rowed before deciding to train for the 2,800-mile challenge. Leaving from the Canary Islands, she rowed solo for 50 days before arriving in Barbados.

“The thought that eight months ago I was lying in hospital having my brain operated on, and now I am here having rowed the Atlantic, I guess I am a bit proud,” said Matthews following her safe arrival in the Caribbean. “I have shown that anyone can attempt anything given the right attitude, belief and support. I want to use my story to inspire women to challenge themselves.”

In addition to achieving a personal goal, Matthews was also able to raise nearly $100,000 to help build an intensive care unit at King’s College Hospital in London. Matthews, who has endured symptoms such as memory loss, insomnia, and osteoporosis as a result of her illness, has credited the hospital with helping save her life.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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