Cancer Survivor Races for the Cause

Posted by on Jun 02, 2011 | Leave a Comment

Nic Russell

Nic Russell

Impossible is nothing to breast cancer survivor and founder of cancer charity Kenzie’s Gift, Nic Russell, who is participating in New Zealand’s premier multisport race this weekend: the Expand-a-Sign 3D Rotorua, with her friend Joy Snook.

“Exercise is a fabulous way of coping and rebuilding health after cancer,” says Nic, who not only battled her own aggressive Her2+ breast cancer, but underwent the desperate cancer journey with her three year old daughter, Kenzie, who sadly died of the disease in December 2005.

Nic survived and established Kenzie’s Gift, a registered charity which provides child and family therapy, art therapy, play therapy and complementary therapies for families affected by cancer. The charity has supported 70 children and families to date, helping to alleviate the stress and trauma the children and their families faced when living cancer, grief and loss.

One little girl that Kenzie’s Gift helped, wrote to them and  said, “Thank you for making my heart feel so much lighter.”

For Nic, it was Kenzie’s tremendous show of courage during her short life that has given her the strength and inspiration to carry on. “I miss her every day,” Nic says, “But Kenzie taught me to live life. So every year since, I have set myself personal challenges . . . facing the fear and the pain, yet appreciating the fact that I am here and I can do it. I believe you can live a positive life with cancer.”

Neil Gellatly, event organiser of the Expand-a-Sign 3D Rotorua multisport race said, “It is fantastic to support Nic and Joy competing in the event. To have a cancer survivor racing for the cause, and challenging themselves to the event of multisport makes my job very rewarding.”

The Expand-a-Sign 3D Rotorua is no mean feat for Nic and Joy. First up is an 8 kms kayak, followed by a 30 kms mountain bike through the redwoods, finishing off with a 12 kms trail run.

‘I can’t believe what Nic has talked me into,” says Joy, “But the work that Kenzie’s Gift has been doing is truly amazing. So to ensure they can continue to support children and families we are raising money through:

To find out more about Kenzie’s Gift, visit: (

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