Rostjerne takes a break from chemotherapy to lead her team to gold medal triumph

What a champion! Rostjerne, who is battling breast cancer, takes a break from chemotherapy to lead her team to gold medal triumph

Anyone going through chemotherapy is tough. But Erin Kennedy takes it to another level.

The inspirational rower took her boat to gold while she was in the middle of a course of treatment for breast cancer.

Mrs Kennedy, 30, took first place with her British crew at the European Para-Rowing Championships in Munich yesterday.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer three months ago – since then she has undergone two rounds of chemotherapy – but has vowed that “cancer will not define me or my career”.

The inspirational rower took her boat to gold while she was in the middle of a course of treatment for breast cancer

“Today has been very emotional for me,” said a tearful Mrs Kennedy. “I’m really holding it together. I’m just very proud of the team. It’s a lot for me to take, but it’s also a lot for them. They have picked me up every time.

She joked: ‘My oncologist is totally on board with this so don’t worry. I don’t run away from her and hide it from her.

Mrs Kennedy took her crew – Frankie Allen, Giedre Rakauskaite, Ed Fuller and Ollie Stanhope – to victory in the PR3 mixed coxed four final. They completed the 2000 m course in seven minutes 6.73 seconds, 19.33 seconds ahead of France.

Mrs Kennedy, who was awarded an MBE earlier this year for services to rowing, will now take some time off from her sport to continue her treatment.

But she has every intention of returning to compete in the Paris Olympics in 2024. “If there’s anything that motivates me to get better, it’s to come back and take this crew to Paris,” she told the BBC . Mrs Kennedy, who has previously won a Paralympic gold and world titles, explained: “I’ve had two rounds of chemotherapy so far.

Mrs Kennedy, who was awarded an MBE earlier this year for services to rowing, will now take some time off from her sport to continue her treatment

Mrs Kennedy, who was awarded an MBE earlier this year for services to rowing, will now take some time off from her sport to continue her treatment

“I get off my plane on Tuesday for an oncology appointment and have blood drawn for chemotherapy on Thursday. So that will be my round three. And then at the end of the month I will have round four.

“From that moment it will be every two weeks and after that I will have weekly treatment for 12 weeks. It’s a sabbatical, it’s not a stop. And when it’s good, I’ll be back racing next spring, and I’ll fight anyone who says I won’t.

Mrs Kennedy has won acclaim for using her profile to encourage women to check their breasts and has been candid about the physical effects of chemotherapy.

In comments to Olympics.com, she discussed the shock of being diagnosed earlier this year and the realization that she would have to undergo grueling treatment.

But she added: “I really thought, ‘What about rowing because it’s such a fundamental part of my life?’ It’s not something I’d ever want to just walk away from. I wasn’t going to just go home and sit and overturned.’

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