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Breast Cancer Survivor Beats All Odds

Kenzie's Gift
For immediate release

Breast Cancer Survivor Beats All Odds

Aggressive Her2+ breast cancer survivor Nicola Russell launches her campaign to swim a total of 14km around the coast of New Zealand starting with the challenging Sovereign NZ Ocean Swim Series Harbour Crossing in Auckland on Sunday 25th November 2007. The 34 year old single mother from Ireland has challenged herself to swim the five tough ocean races in memory of her daughter MacKenzie who died of cancer in December 2005.

In a cruel twist of fate, Nic was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer just three months after the devastating news that her daughter had Ewing’s Sarcoma. MacKenzie and Nic went on to share a heart rendering journey of pain, chemotherapy treatment and surgery. Sadly, just after Christmas on 29th December 2005, MacKenzie died leaving behind her mother and her 5 year old brother Conor. In the most inspirational show of fortitude, resilience and determination, Nic has fought back to bring her and Conor’s life back in to shape.

Nic’s campaign to swim around New Zealand is a huge personal challenge as past attempts last year to swim in ocean races left her ‘paralysed’ with fear and unable to even start races. Overcoming several deep water panic attacks during the 2.4km Round The Head event on the North Shore, Nic eventually managed to complete a race. Armed with this success, Nic pulled together a team to help her improve her technique and fitness during the winter months.

Her campaign is also being used to build awareness and to launch a major fundraising drive for Kenzie’s Gift, a charity Nic has worked tirelessly on setting up in memory of her daughter. The charity has a vision to establish a team of community based clinical therapists to offer hope and healing to families affected by cancer by providing psychological support systems which are sorely lacking in New Zealand. Kenzie’s Gift will provide play, art and music therapists to help children in particular cope with the devastation that cancer can bring. The New Zealand Guardian Trust is the custodian of the charity and it is currently waiting on its registration from the Charities Commission.

The charity has been endorsed by the Patch Adams, M.D, the world renowned doctor whom Robin Williams starred as in the Hollywood movie of the same name, by joining the Kenzie’s Gift Board of Advisors. He states: “I am honoured to be on the Board of Advisors of Kenzie’s Gift. A strong belief I have, is that health and well being can be vested in a choice to live happy. Kenzie’s Gift fully endorses this idea in its vision to provide these services.”

Scott Rice, Event Director of the Sovereign NZ Ocean Swim Series, said, “This is truly an amazing story of someone overcoming personal tragedy as well as a fear of deep water to honour the life of her daughter and in so doing assist others who are affected by cancer. Each year The Sovereign NZ Ocean Swim Series reveals stories of courage and inspiration as everyday people overcome the odds to achieve their own personal goals and objectives. Nic’s is one of those truly amazing stories; we wish her the best of luck in her pursuit”.

If you would like to support Kenzie’s Gift, please forward you donation to:

ASB Bank, Devonport
A/c Name Kenzie’s Gift
A/c No. 12-3015-0612425-00

15th November 2007

- ENDS -

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