One Saturday late last March, I headed to Freeport for the day. Upon my arrival, I realized that L.L. Bean was hosting 2018 Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall. The epitome of strength and endurance, Randall recently competed in her fifth Olympic Winter Games.
Randall led two Fast and Female Power Hours at the Freeport flagship store. She is one of the leaders of Fast and Female, a nonprofit organization with the goal of keeping teenage girls in sports. Following her Power Hour events, Randall signed autographs and posed for photos.
I decided that I was too old for an autograph, but jumped in line for a photo of her with her gold medal. It is the closest that I’ll ever be to an Olympic gold medal. The L.L. Bean representative asked if I wanted her to take the photo so that I could be in it, but I said: “No, I don’t want to ruin the photo.” I walked away totally impressed and immediately posted my photo on Instagram.
Just a month prior, Randall teamed with Jessie Diggins to become the first American cross-country skiers to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics after capturing the women’s team sprint in PyeongChang, South Korea, after outracing powers Norway and Sweden. I remember the event and the sheer elation of their victory. History for the United States.
Randall, 35, was the only mother to compete in PyeongChang for Team USA. She is married and has a young two-year-old son, Breck.
I was so saddened when she announced on social media a week or so ago that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
A true American hero and symbol of strength and endurance, is now fighting for her life. She said that she found the lump on Mother’s Day. Randall said in her Instagram post that they caught cancer early and the prognosis is good. She has returned to Anchorage to start chemotherapy.
In a social media post, she also mentioned that she rode her bicycle to and from the hospital for her first chemo treatment.
Randall has been known for having a streak of pink in her hair. Now that pink has an entirely new meaning.
Here’s hoping that she has as much success in her battle with cancer as she did last February in PyeongChang. I know that she will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers over the next few months.