After surviving a rare and life-threatening condition, Kiko now attempts to break a world record in becoming the fastest female to row the Atlantic, solo and unsupported
At a time that is proving so significant for women, the team here at RWinvest are extremely proud to sponsor and offer our support to the incredible Kiko Matthews in her attempt to break a world record. For Kiko, the journey is ‘not about rowing, it’s about challenge, resilience and community.’ Her principal aim is to show women that any challenge can be achieved or overcome if we collaborate and support each other.
Kiko will not only be looking to add her name to list of 5 women who have successfully made the crossing solo, but will also be aiming to cross the ocean in a world record time of 45 days – 11 days less than the current record of 56 days.
This January, Kiko will set off on her journey, rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Barbados, singled-handed and unsupported. With up to 16 hours of rowing each day and only 6 hours sleep it will be a gruelling solo challenge, both physically and mentally, Kiko has acknowledged.
40ft waves are anticipated along with storms, sharks, freezing nights and sweltering heat. Not to mention sleep deprivation, muscle pains, blisters, sea-sickness, loneliness and potential hallucinations, which will all play their part in this challenge.
‘An emergency button will be my life-line otherwise I’ll be my own doctor, mechanic, skipper, friend and worst enemy (at times!) for the duration of the crossing!’ Kiko said.
As a non-rower, Kiko has had to get fit and learn all about the ocean and life at sea – in addition to learning how to row. She has worked closely with Charlie Pitcher (Rannoch Adventure) and Guin Batten, Olympic silver medalist and world record ocean rower.
‘Nothing is too difficult to learn, given the right support,’ Kiko stated.
In 2009, Kiko was diagnosed with a life-threatening pituitary tumour and after having spent a month at King’s College Hospital, and being discharged after 24 hours in the intensive care unit, she realised that life was for living. She is using this opportunity to give something back for the amazing care she received by raising £100k for King’s College Hospital’s new Critical Care Unit.
The Care Unit will be built on the top of the hospital with a garden that allows for the life support machines to still be connected if outside. Floor-to-ceiling windows will provide natural light and many other facilities will be implemented to make time spent in the unit by patients, as well as friends and families, more enjoyable.
6 months before departure, Kiko discovered a recurrence of the tumour and disease. King’s College Hospital now continue to look after her with the utmost professionalism and urgency to ensure she is cured again.
Following her experience in intensive care, Kiko has been determined to make a difference to others’ lives and somewhere along her journey she discovered the power of challenge.
After the row, Kiko will be looking to develop 100TOGETHER, a collective of amazing women. She will be utilising her journey as a platform to give talks to show people that any challenge can be overcome or achieved through collaboration and community.
Having experienced the benefits of running the 100TOGETHER campaign – developing skills, knowledge, building new relationships and becoming more confident – Kiko will aim to give other women a similar experience using stand-up paddle boarding or ocean rowing, mentoring and supporting them in their own adventure from planning to completion.
The vision is to give women opportunities to challenge themselves whilst being supported by other women in the 100TOGETHER community, replicating the journey and support Kiko has received over the years – resulting in being a happy, independent and empowered woman. For more information visit: www.kikomatthews.co.uk
Beth Thompson | 26th January 2018