“I will never forget the indescribable fear of hearing the words ‘you have breast cancer,’ shares Nicole Fuller, a former Springbok who’s gearing up for an epic journey to spark hope for others who have heard those same words.
Although it’s been five years since her diagnosis, five years since she realised the swelling in her left breast wasn’t just swelling but rather every woman’s biggest fear, Nicole remembers that time in her life with terrifying clarity.
A former Springbok distance runner, Nicole was used to her body’s strength. She represented South Africa on the track, cross country and the road, and even qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. But cancer doesn’t discriminate, she shares, no matter how fit or acclaimed you are.
“I have been an elite athlete from the age of 14. I lead an extremely healthy lifestyle, yet I still got cancer,” she adds.
However, Nicole’s is a story with a happy plot twist. She had a “remarkable recovery” largely due to two things: Her fitness and her determination to not let the cancer definer her.
“I rode my eliptigo stationary bike two weeks post-mastectomy and ran again after six weeks,” she adds.
Now, on top of athlete and powerhouse, Nicole adds “breast cancer warrior” to her achievements.
Onto her next journey, Nicole will be taking a trip to Everest. She’s exchanged Mount Everest for its little sister, Island Peak Mountain (or Imja Tse), which might sound like an adorable theme-park, but in reality 6 160 metres tall! (Everest stands at roughly 8 849 metres).
Invited by Saray Khumalo and her Base2Summits, Nicole and other adventurers will embark on a 20-day mission this October to the mountains of Nepal. The cause? Breast Cancer Awareness, and self-discovery.
Teaming up with the Machi Filotimo Cancer Project (MFCP) and its various Cancer Navigation Projects (she is also a Filotimo Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist) Nicole hopes to raise funds to support cancer patients and their families. The goal is R60 000, and the fundraiser targes awareness and education about cancer and its treatments – which beyond the mountainscape is the real goal.
You can find out more about supporting Nicole and the MFCP via BackaBuddy.
Feature Image: Pexels