Kikkan Randall has been a pioneer in the sport of cross-country skiiing. She won Olympic gold with Jessie Diggins in Pyeongchang, the first U.S. female skiers to medal at a Winter Games.(Photo: Jeffrey Swinger, USA TODAY Sports)CONNECT>TWEET>LINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
Since being diagnosed with breast cancer last month, Kikkan Randall has wondered how this could have happened to her, an Olympic gold medalist coming off the pinnacle moment of her career.
Randall stood atop the podium in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 21 with her teammate Jessie Diggins after winning the first Olympic gold medal by an American cross country skier. The only mother on the U.S. Olympic team last winter, Randall came back from taking a year off for maternity leave to compete in her fifth Olympics.
“We obviously see that cancer doesn’t discriminate,” Randall said in a phone interview Friday. “You can go from winning an Olympic gold medal and four months later you find out you have cancer. I think it’s important to show that we can all be affected by this but rallying around the points of staying active and taking this one step at a time.”
On Mother’s Day, Randall felt a hard spot in her breast and knew she needed to get it checked out.
Since announcing her diagnosis on her blog and on social media last week, Randall has been blown away by the thousands of messages of support she's received from the skiing community, fans and cancer survivors. On Friday she Facetimed with some of her teammates who wore pink wigs in support of their friend, who's known for coloring her hair pink.
Among those who have called offering encouragement was fellow Alaskan DeeDee Jonrowe, an Iditarod musher who is a breast cancer survivor.
“I never would have guessed that breast cancer affected so many people,” Randall said. “But now that I’m part of the club, I’m so grateful that people are reaching out.”
The color pink has taken on a new chapter in my life as I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Although we caught it early and the prognosis is good, my life will change quite a bit in the coming months. I have returned to Anchorage for treatment at @providencealaska Cancer Center. It’s a scary thing to learn you have cancer and I have wondered every day since how this could have possibly happened to me. But I have promised myself that I will remain positive and active and determined throughout my treatment. I am going to bring as much tenacity, strength, and energy toward this challenge as I have throughout my entire career. I began my first round of chemo on Monday surrounded by great friends and family. I made to sure get a gym workout in beforehand, rode my bike to and from the hospital, and wore my happy shoes. I will be using my blog to keep everyone posted through my upcoming journey. #Kikkanimal @llbean @aktivmotkreft @aktiv_usa photos by @charlesrenfroski
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Friday the 35-year-old Randall was feeling the effects of her first round of chemotherapy, which took about seven hours July 9. She rode her bike to the hospital and was surrounded by family and friends for the treatment at Providence Alaska in Anchorage.
She’s hopeful that being in such good shape as a world-class skier, an avid biker and runner will help her bounce back more quickly.
“The one thing I’ve noticed though in the last day or so, I’m so used to feeling good and being able to go out and do anything I want and have energy,” said Randall, who's a mom to 2-year-old Breck. “I think not feeling like that is going to be a hard adjustment for me. It’s going to take patience to wait for the days when I get back to that feeling.”
Randall recently moved from her hometown of Anchorage to Penticton, British Columbia, with Breck and her husband Jeff Ellis. Since retiring from skiing after the Olympics, Randall has spent time traveling and speaking to young girls as part of her Fast and Female initiative.
Always cheering for my forever teammate! @kikkanimal you are an incredible woman inside and out, and I have no doubt that this next chapter in life will be conquered by your positive spirit, tenacity and superwoman energy! ❤️💪🏼❤️
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Thousands of people have touched her gold medal, she estimates, including the nurses who helped her through her first round of chemo last week.
"The best part of winning an Olympic medal is getting to share it with everybody," she said.
Randall and Diggins are candidates to win an award for Best Olympic Moment on Wednesday in ESPN's ESPYs.
"It’s an incredible honor to be in the running for the award," Randall said. "It’s incredible to be a part of it and if we were to win, I think that would be an amazing step forward for cross country skiing. I’ve always wanted to raise the profile of our sport, especially for what it can mean in terms of inspiring people to live a good lifestyle. It’s pretty cool to be getting that kind of attention."
Randall will continue to share her journey on her blog, which she hopes can inspire others who might be going through cancer treatment.
"It's been overwhelming to see how much people care, how much they believe in my ability to get through this," she said.
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Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2018/07/17/kikkan-randall-blown-away-support-since-breast-cancer-diagnosis/792368002/