In February, Kikkan Randall won Olympic gold. In June, the American learned that she has breast cancer. But she remains optimistic and reports on the details of her therapy in the social media.
Something felt weird. Kikkan Randall had spent Mother's Day with husband Jeff and son Breck as she brushed across her chest just before falling asleep – and thought he had touched a rib. But when she touched it again, she realized that what she was feeling was not a rib but a knot in the chest.
The uneasy feeling was confirmed in a first unbelievable diagnosis: breast cancer. Kikkan Randall turns 36 in December, and only in February did she achieve her greatest success: Olympic gold in cross country team sprint with Jessica Diggins. At the end of the season Randall had retired after 17 years in the World Cup. So instead of being able to deal with their professional life in the following months, Randall suddenly struggled to survive.
As is her style, she also shares this fight with the public. Even as a cross-country skier, the athlete from Anchorage (Alaska) had already noticed with her joy of communication and her constant laughter. Social media uses them less for self-marketing than for information. As an American cross-country skier, she was an exotic girl on the scene and away from home for about six months a year. That's why her regular posts were also used to reveal travel life with all its advantages and disadvantages.
The disease, which is often whispered, wants to bring it to consciousness
When Randall gave birth to son Breck two and a half years ago, she also became a pioneer in the World Cup. She helped other cross-country mothers to combine motherhood and athleticism – giving mothers and their toddlers a retreat near the stadium, for example.
Pink pioneer was called Randall, because she always competed with a pink strand in her hair competitions. Pink in her hair can no longer wear her since summer. Her hair fell off during the first of six chemotherapy cycles. However, Randall anticipated this failure in their own way.
When first strands broke, she had her hair completely cut off – and posed bald for her blog, which she provides daily with new short videos.
Hairless she presents herself in public beyond the online world. Once again, Randall thinks in a big way – and wants to give breast cancer patients a face, and show how the fight against the disease affects. So she wants to help bring into the broader consciousness a disease that one likes to talk about only in a whisper. For example, when a bald woman enters the room.
That's why she talks on her blog and in articles about how she is, what she feels or thinks. That her chances of surviving this fight against cancer are very intact, of course, helps her with this new major task.
Randall approaches her like a sportswoman. Quickly after the diagnosis, she put together a team – and a plan on how she wants to fight the disease. As much movement is required. That's why Randall trained as often as possible during the chemocycles, as long as she found the strength. And even if she did not lift herself from the sofa for a while, she also documented this aspect.
But most of the time she moves her body; Even in the high-intensity time she went to Chemo hospital with the bike and then back home. TV shows show Randall running in the gym and lifting weights, believing that the fitter she gets from months of treatment for cancer, the faster she recovers and the happier she is.
Since this week she has completed phase two out of three of the immediate treatment: After the chemotherapy cycles she was removed from the diseased breast tissue. Randall decided against amputation. After the wound healing the third phase follows: the irradiation.
The power of her social contacts uses her purposefully for recovery
Because Randall wants to have more children, she stimulated her egg production before her first chemo cycle and allowed egg cells to freeze. The fact that she also reports about such intimate things, has brought her in direct contact as online a large following. When she appeared at a local cross-country race in the fall, the teenagers suddenly chanted her name and made the man weeping cry at the short thank-you speech.
That she experiences such sympathy strengthens her. Yes, she uses the power of social contacts for her recovery: When the chemistry first trickled into her, the whole family gathered in the hospital. Partner Jeff also quit his job to help his wife as much as possible.
And many of her former teammates, with whom she shares much more than just the passion for cross-country skiing, keep coming back – with words or visits that often end in Randall's important and enjoyable workouts. All these contacts illustrate Kikkan Randall: She can be carried in this most difficult phase.