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British woman breaks Atlantic rowing record months after brain surgery

Category: Sport 

A former teacher who survived two tumours and a life-threatening illness has become the fastest woman to row solo across the Atlantic.


Kiko Matthews arrived in Barbados on Thursday after 50 days at sea, beating the previous record by almost a week, although official timings have not yet been released.

Matthews, who was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease in 2009 and had a second tumour last year, had never rowed before taking on the 2,800-mile challenge, which began in Gran Canaria.

The former science teacher, who left her job to help found the charity The Big Stand and a paddle-boarding business, had symptoms including memory loss, insomnia and osteoporosis during her illness.

As she stepped off the boat, Matthews, 36, from Herefordshire, said she hoped her story would inspire others.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Her journey has raised more than £70,000 to help build an intensive care unit at King’s College hospital in London, where she received life-saving treatment.

In a message on her fundraising page, she said: “Hello everyone! Back on dry land … I did it, I have rowed the 3,000 nautical miles from Gran Canaria to Barbados.

“I have met my personal challenge to become the fastest female to row the Atlantic, solo and unsupported.”

The previous record for a female rower was 56 days.



Tags: Kiko Matthews

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