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Kiko Matthews - Overcame Cushing’s Disease, and the removal of 2 brain tumours

Charlene Gibson - Oldest British women to summit Cho Oyu in 2016 and now heading to climb Ama Dablam in 2018!

Kiko a former teacher, now turned SUPer and adventurer, at 36, rowed 3,000 nautical miles from Gran Canaria to Barbados in 49 days! Gaining a new Guinness World Record in the process! Solo and unsupported, she was rowing for up to 16 hours a day, sleeping in two-hour shifts. What makes this story even more incredible is that in 2009, Kiko, was diagnosed with Cushing's disease, a rare condition that made even walking up the stairs impossible. The tumour on her pituitary gland also caused severe memory loss, psychosis, diabetes, osteoporosis, insomnia and muscle wastage. In order to give back Kiko stated fundraising for Kings College Hospital Charity, who helped save her life. Whilst in the middle of her training to row the Atlantic, she was diagnosed with a second tumour which was successfully removed in August 2017. In March 2018, she smashed the previous record or 56 days and in the process motivated and inspired others to challenge themselves to do the unthinkable.

During this podcast we learn more about Kiko; her life, the decisions she’s made and the challenges she’s overcome, what she has learnt on the way and why she wants to continue to inspire and motivate others. She also give a few hints about her next challenge!


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Show notes

  • Thinking about her recent achievement!

  • Wanting to move on and focus on the next thing

  • When the dream for rowing the Atlantic came about

  • Growing up as one of 4 children

  • Adventures growing up, travelling and taking gap years

  • Driving to Cape Town from the UK in a team of 4 over 6 months

  • What she learnt on this adventure…

  • Learning to speak honestly to people and to be honest to herself

  • Being diagnosed with Cushing Disease in 2009

  • Why you have to let go of the things you can’t control and focus on what you can control

  • The recovery process…over 18 months

  • Going off her medication and the negative impact…

  • Trying to find her passion

  • Learning to stand up paddle board on the Nile

  • Wanting to do paddle board life coaching in the future

  • Telling her friends and family about her Atlantic Rowing Challenge!

  • Not having the support from her family

  • Doing the planning at the start

  • Deciding to do women only funding

  • Having to deal with her tumour coming back

  • Why it was a relief to start rowing the Atlantic

  • Being closest to a person in space rather than on earth!

  • Never feeling lonely or alone

  • What a typical day was like on the water - her routine and day to day habits

  • How she entertained herself while on the boat & getting obsessed with the data

  • The last day and the finish

  • Knowing her life was going to change after getting the world record

  • What she’s learnt from this experience

  • The next big challenge!

  • Final words of wisdom…

  • Where her name - Kiko came from


Social Media

Instagram: @kikomatthews

Donate here to help raise funds for Kings College Hospital Charity


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