Earlier this year, Kikkan Randall edged out her competitors and won a gold medal in the Winter Olympics at PyeongChang. Now, just six months later, she’s hoping to win another battle: a fight against breast cancer.
In a Facebook post shared Wednesday, the 35-year-old cross-country skier and mom announced her breast cancer diagnosis and opened up about her health.
“The color pink has taken on a new chapter in my life as I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer,” she wrote, sharing several photos of herself undergoing treatment. “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.”
Randall wrote that she was diagnosed early and her prognosis is “good.” She also said that she started her first round of chemotherapy on Monday. But even chemo didn’t stop this world-class athlete from breaking a sweat.
“I made [sure to] get a gym workout in beforehand, rode my bike to and from the hospital, and wore my happy shoes,” she detailed, showing off a pair of tie dye sneakers. She plans to document her experience periodically on her blog, kikkan.com.
Randall did not specify the stage of her breast cancer, but stage plays a role in determining a patient’s treatment plan. Not all women with breast cancer need chemo, which involves taking anti-cancer drugs by mouth or intravenously. But this treatment is usually recommended before or after surgery, or if the cancer is more advanced.
The Olympian is certainly younger than most breast cancer patients; the disease is more likely to occur in women in their 50s and 60s. A 30-year-old woman has a 1 in 220 chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years. By age 40, the likelihood increases to 1 in 68.
Randall’s post brings heartbreaking news. But we applaud her candor and positivity, and we know that this athlete will give beating cancer her all.