The team gave Annica back the joy to live
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TR Press UK - 30-06-2019

The team gave Annica back the joy to live

Annica Liljekvist’s life took an unexpected turn in November of 2017. The lump she had noticed in her breast turned out to be an aggressive type of breast cancer. After going through tough treatments for several months, she was finally done. Only one month after her last treatment, Annica submitted an application to participate in the Team Rynkeby project. “I don't think rest of the team realise how much they mean to me,” she says.

When you meet Annica Liljekvist for the first time, you are struck by her great smile and incredible positive energy. It’s hard to imagine that just a year ago, this same person endured a difficult treatment for an aggressive type of breast cancer. Today, she is cycling with her team towards the French capital with great enthusiasm, despite the temperature being close to 36 degrees Celsius and blazing sun.

“I have wanted to do this trip for such a long time, but it was only after the cancer that I finally decided to go for it and applied. I went through a bad time when I finished my treatment last summer. I felt completely lost and empty, and all I wanted was to go back to being the old Annica. When I joined the team I was met with so much positive energy. The people in this team are so uplifting, encouraging and absolutely amazing!”




Vägen tillbaka

Annica berättar att laget har varit en stor del i hennes resa tillbaka till vardagen, bort från sjukdom och behandling. 

- ”Det känns så skönt att ha någonting annat att fokusera på än mig själv och den dödsångest som kom till följd av sjukdomen. Att fokusera på barnen vi samlar in pengar till, istället för att fokusera på mig”, förklarar hon.

A new kind of gratitude
Before being diagnosed with cancer, Annica felt happy and thankful for the life she had.


“But I experience a completely different kind of gratitude now. I thought I knew what gratitude was, but having experienced that amount of anxiety, I am just so grateful that I am still here, living life. You start to notice the little things in everyday life that some perhaps take for granted.”
 

 


The importance of the team
She goes on to say that she doesn’t think her teammates realise how important they have been in her recovery.


“I am so grateful for all the support and all the love, and the understanding that we are all different and see things in different ways. I have never felt judged at all during my time on the team. Everyone is great and very compassionate. Everyone should have people like that in their lives,” she says and continues:

“I have on occasion lost confidence in both my body and my abilities, and I didn’t know how my body would cope with the physical exertion. But when I fall, my teammates lift me up, time and time again. They are absolutely fantastic, all of them. The Team Rynkeby project is not about prestige or trying to be the best. It’s about doing it together, as a team.”




If only I had known I would survive
Annica is one of the people who really understands what the children go through when they have cancer. And it is so much more than the physical pain the body has to endure.

“I wouldn’t have minded the cancer treatment itself if only I had known I would survive at the end of it. Part of the journey when you battle cancer is also battling a huge amount of anxiety and fear of death. The amount of times I thought: Is this it? I am going to die now? I am not ready to go.”

The pink ribbon
Three months after Annica received her diagnosis, one of her friends was also told she had cancer. She is in Annica’s thoughts while she is cycling to Paris.

“She passed away just two weeks ago. The funeral is this coming Tuesday, so I won’t be able to attend. However, I will wear a pink ribbon in memory of her. It feels so terribly unfair that some don’t make it. It makes me feel even more grateful, even though I’m very sad that she isn’t here anymore.”




Anyone can take part
Annica is convinced that anyone can take part in the project, regardless of background and physical ability.


“If I can cycle to Paris after everything I went through, then anyone can do this. You have 10 months to train, so you have enough time to get in shape. I basically started from zero and have had to work my way up. Anyone can do this, absolutely anyone,” she concludes.


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